January 2, 2018
Slowly but surely, the opposition parties are waking up to the plight of Sivakasi firecracker industry with leaders like DMK working president MK Stalin, PMK chief S Ramadoss and others coming out in full support to the beleaguered industry that is facing a closure due to uncertainty hanging over its future.
Sivakasi firecracker industry stares at a country-wide ban over a petition by environmentalists seeking a total ban on sale of crackers during Deepawali across the country as it adversely affected the environment.
DMK working president MK Stalin on Tuesday said that his party will raise the issue in Rajya Sabha seeking succour to the industry that gives livelihood to 8 lakh people in Tamil Nadu alone and nearly one crore people are dependent on its country-wide.
Stalin urged the central government to come to the aid of the firecracker sector. In a tweet, Stalin said, “Centre should step in to save the firecracker manufacturing cluster in Sivakasi, which accounts for 90% of Indian firecracker production and protect the industry employing lakhs of workers.” He also said, “DMK MPs in Rajya Sabha will raise the issue with concerned Minister. #CrackerBan.”
In Sivakasi, the firecracker manufacturers have shut down operations for over a week now declaring that they were not in a position to carry on with uncertainty hanging over their future. Already north Indian buyers have refused to advance money due to which manufacturing process has also come to a grinding halt. Workers have been told and several sent back to their respective homes.
Incidentally, it is for the first time that the managements, workers and trade unions have come together to fight their battle for survival.
“The firecracker industry prays for early hearing of the case by the Supreme Court and the judgement given either way to do away with the uncertain situation,” K.Mariappan, Vice President, All India Federation of Fireworks Associations (AIFFA) said. AIFFA is a body that represents firecracker manufacturers, dealers of firecrackers, transporters, distributors, ancillary industries and others.
PMK founder S Ramadoss declared that firecrackers were part and parcel of Indian culture and cannot and should not be banned.
Ban on made in India firecrackers will open up the country to illegal sale of Chinese firecrackers, he said adding that those against firecrackers were putting forward wrong arguments. Stubble burning is the cause of smog and environmental pollution he said adding if firecrackers were leading to smog, entire South India should have been under thick fog.