Only final SC verdict will end uncertainty, say Sivakasi fireworks manufacturers

Better alternative: Both the Central and State governments say tightening regulations is a better way of tackling pollution than imposing a blanket ba   | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

The Central government may have ruled out a nationwide ban on firecrackers in the Supreme Court, but fireworks units in Sivakasi, which account for over 90% of domestic sales, are not celebrating just yet. They are eagerly and anxiously waiting for the final verdict in the case, as only that, they believe, would end the uncertainty shrouding the industry for good.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a slew of petitions seeking a complete nationwide ban on the use, manufacture, licensing, sale, resale or distribution of firecrackers and sparklers of any kind, in a bid to combat pollution as a matter of urgency.

Fireworks units are already seeing sluggish order intake from dealers due to the uncertainty over the issue. Normally, fireworks firms begin receiving orders from dealers for the festive season by July-August. But their prospects have been particularly bleak this festive season.

During a Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday, the Centre ruled out imposing a nationwide ban on firecrackers, and instead suggested ways to regulate firecrackers, including producing ‘green crackers’, encouraging community cracker bursting in major cities, implementing a freeze on the production of series crackers or laris, and bursting crackers in areas pre-designated by the State governments. The Tamil Nadu government also favoured the restrained use of firecrackers instead of a blanket ban.

“The Centre and the State governments have made their observations in the Supreme Court. For the industry, the uncertainty will continue till a verdict is pronounced and there is clarity. Only then, orders will start to flow,” said P.C.A. Asaithambi, president, Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (Tanfama).

Lack of consultation

K. Mariappan, secretary, Tanfama, said that while it was clear that the intention was not to impose a total ban on the sale of crackers, the industry was concerned about the kind of regulations that would kick in. “We are open to regulations. But the industry must be consulted while framing the regulations, which is not happening. We will be opposing some of the measures suggested by the Centre in the next hearing on August 28,” he said.

The fireworks industry in Sivakasi is pegged around ₹5,000 crore to ₹6,000 crore, according to analysts. These are ball-park estimates, as there are many unorganised units that sell crackers worth over ₹2,000 crore each year. There are over 1,100 fireworks manufacturing units in Sivakasi, of which over 250 are registered with Tanfama.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 8:03:26 AM |

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