‘Illicit units cannot be traced easily as they function in residential houses’

A total of 1,157 criminal cases had been booked against licensed fireworks manufacturing units in Sivakasi of Virudhunagar district in 2013 alone on the charge of violating safety rules, according to District Revenue Officer C. Munuswamy.

Of the total cases, 677 had ended up in conviction in the Srivilliputtur Chief Judicial Magistrate Court and a total fine amount of Rs.37.73 lakh had been collected from the convicts, the officer said in a report filed before the Madras High Court Bench here on Tuesday.

The report submitted before a Division Bench of Justices R. Sudhakar and V.M. Velumani by Special Government Pleader B. Pugalendhi also said 631 fireworks manufacturing units in Virudhunagar district had permission to store explosives beyond 15 kg.

Apart from them, 152 units possessed licence to store explosives below 15 kg.

These units had to obtain licences from the DRO, the Department of Explosives and the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health, besides clearances required from various other authorities.

The manufacture of fireworks went through various stages, including ingredient shed, mixing shed, filling shed, fuse making shed, fuse wrapping shed and manufacturing sheds. And a majority of the unlicensed manufacturing units were engaged in manufacturing fuses for the crackers.

“The illicit manufacturing of fuses is done mostly in houses and, therefore, they could not be traced easily,” the DRO said. Nevertheless, pursuant to the orders passed by the court on July 26, 2013, the Collector had formed special teams to crack down on such units, he added.

New block

The officer also said construction of a new block for upgrading burns ward at a Government Hospital in Virudhunagar district at a cost of Rs.2.25 crore would be completed in the next three months.

The government had also allotted Rs.1.5 crore for appointing hospital staff.

“A mobile team has been formed in the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health Department for inspecting fireworks factories alone and a separate training centre for the workers of the fireworks units is being constructed in the district,” the DRO’s report stated.

After taking the report on file, the judges adjourned the case till March 5.

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