Meeting arranged following bandh by 800 fireworks units

Fireworks manufacturers in Sivakasi have been invited to New Delhi for talks on April 21 with officials in the Department of Industrial Policy and to discuss the concerns raised by the cracker industry.

The meeting has been arranged following the bandh observed in Sivakasi by over 800 fireworks units on Tuesday with participation of manufacturers, workers and 36 associations from different spheres which extended solidarity to ‘Save Sivakasi’ call.

On Wednesday, an emergency meeting of manufacturers and associations was convened here to discuss the next course of action and how to take up their issues with the Centre.

The fireworks manufacturers have been primarily objecting to the explosives licence fee which has been increased by 27 times from Rs.15,000 to Rs.4 lakh and illegal import of crackers from China, a move which they feel has affected the domestic fireworks industry, especially in Sivakasi.

A.P. Selvaraj, president, Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TANFAMA), told The Hindu after the meeting that they received communication from the Commerce Ministry, inviting for talks to hear their grievances.

Officials from the explosives division will also take part in the April 21 meeting.

In view of the talks, the fireworks manufacturers have decided to resume production from Thursday.

“We are strictly opposing the revision of licence fee for fireworks units. If nothing positive happens at the meeting, we will take up the issue with the new government at the Centre,” Mr. Selvaraj also said.

A 10-member delegation of fireworks manufacturers, representing three associations, will attend the meeting.

He said the next action plan will be chalked out in June first week after hearing the response from the government.

The bandh and hunger strike call on Tuesday evoked a good response from people in and around Sivakasi, besides political parties.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko and CPI(M) general secretary G. Ramakrishnan were among those who visited the fireworks manufacturers to extend their solidarity.

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