Wednesday’s fire accident at Mudalipatti near Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, which claimed 38 lives, is an example of the callousness of firecracker manufacturing companies, which violate the rules with impunity (“Sivakasi, the destroyer,” Sept. 6). Despite several accidents in the industry, the State government does not seem to have ensured the enforcement of rules. At least from now on, it should be strict in enforcing safety rules. Those responsible for the Sivakasi tragedy should be given stringent punishment.
The government should realise that its accountability does not cease with the enactment of laws and framing of rules and procedures. It should ensure that they are implemented.
N. Sadasivan Pillai,
Fire accidents in Sivakasi are routine. The reason: irresponsible government officials who are the bigger culprits than factory owners. A cracker factory cannot function clandestinely. Obviously, the owners have the official “permit.” Unless the officials responsible for granting licences to such factories are punished, there is no way one can stop accidents.
Over the years, many precious lives have been lost in Virudhunagar. Do we really need firecracker factories even if they adhere to safety measures just because crackers provide fun and frolic? Come Diwali, Christmas or any other major festival, not to speak of wedding and birthday bashes, crackers are burst polluting air, water, and land. Can we not find other creative ways of celebrating? Wind up all cracker units in the larger interest of people’s health and the well-being of mother earth.
As one who worked in Sivakasi for some time, I know how insensitive firecracker factory owners are. They argue that since theirs is a seasonal business, their objective is to manufacture as many crackers as possible within the shortest possible time and make a quick buck. They coolly say accidents cannot be prevented in factories even if they take precautionary measures and, therefore, there is no point in wasting time and money on that. As stated in the editorial, even the smallest of mistakes can have disastrous consequences. Officials who suspended the licence of Om Sakthi Fire Works Industries ought to have sealed the unit and informed the Fire Service department, the police and the district administration of their decision. Sivakasi, also known as kutti (little) Japan, provides thousands of job opportunities to the semi-skilled, unskilled and uneducated labour force of the region. The economy of this region is dependent on the manufacturing of fireworks and matchboxes and the printing industry.