The fireworks industry has welcomed the cancellation of the contentious order, increasing various licence fees for the industry.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in a June 5 order, has announced the cancellation of the March order and made a “nominal” revision of the fees with effect from April 1 this year.

The Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TANFAMA) and The Indian Fireworks Manufacturers’ Association (TIFMA) have welcomed the decision to increase the fees at a “reasonable” rate.

“Earlier, the fee revision was proposed up to 27 times. The proposed fee that was hiked up to Rs. 4 lakh earlier now has been fixed at Rs. 28,000. We welcome it and thank leaders of all parties, including Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who stood by the industry,” said TANFAMA president A.P. Selvaraj.

The hike is at the rate of 30-37 per cent for various licences, A. S. Arjun Raja, president of the TIFMA, has said. The fees were increased last in 2008.

The associations organised a strike against the increase when electioneering for the Lok Sabha polls peaked. Consequently, officials of the Ministry of Commerce invited their representatives for talks.

“It is a victory for our protest,” Mr. Arjun Raja said.

Mr. Selvaraj said the new order also dispelled speculation on an attempt at opening the Indian market for Chinese crackers. “Earlier, the officials proposed to do away with all testing fees for imported crackers. Now, those proposals have been rolled back,” he said.

Parliament ratification

However, the TANFAMA still wants the Centre not to delegate its power for revision of fees to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

Its vice-president K. Mariappan, who had challenged in the High Court the delegation of power for fees revision, said the Explosives Act, 1884, which governs all rules for the industry, exempted delegation of powers by the Centre to any body for fee revision.

“We want Parliament to ratify all fee revisions for the fireworks industry in future. Otherwise, officials might revise the fees as per their wish,” Mr. Selvaraj said.

It opposes Centre delegating powers on fee revision to any department