Sivakasi fireworks units to shut down

Sivakasi fireworks units to shut down

To protest ‘impractical’ safety rules

Irked by what they claim to be an “impractical” set of fresh safety rules proposed for cracker shops, all stakeholders in the fireworks industry have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from February 18.

The stakeholders, under the banner of All India Federation of Fireworks Industry, have said that the draft safety rules proposed by an expert panel of Central and State government officials, if implemented, would “wipe out” all the 3,400 big and over one lakh small cracker shops with permanent licences.

“This will bring the whole fireworks industry employing lakhs of workers in manufacturing and other allied industries, transportation, dealership and retail sales to a standstill as virtually all the licensed shops will lose their licence as they could not comply with the proposed draft rules,” said one of the manufacturers, K. Mariappan.

Talking to reporters here on Friday, along with another manufacturer Asaithambi, Mr. Mariappan said that already the dealers who had made advance payments for crackers to be supplied during Deepavali season had asked for return of the money.

“They know that if the new rules are implemented, they will have no licence to buy, stock and sell crackers. Hence, they want their money back,” Mr. Mariappan said. Most of the manufacturers run their factories with advance payments received from dealers.

With the closure of shops looking imminent and the piled up stocks already stagnant, the manufacturers have decided to close down 840 cracker units in and around Sivakasi from Saturday.

The Madras High Court had sought fresh regulations to prevent fire accidents in cracker shops after a fatal accident in a shop here claimed nine lives in the adjacent scan centre last year.

“The accident was only due to violation of existing safety rules prescribed under Explosives Rules, 2008. Otherwise, the existing set of safety rules is good enough to ensure safety. But the officials are now trying to bring in impractical rules that would close down the industry,” Mr. Mariappan said.

Call for huge investments

If new regulations came into force, dealers would have to move their shops far away from human habitations and make huge investments that would not be economically feasible, he added.

- The Hindu

News & Events