Tamil Nadu CM Stalin seeks ban on import of single-use plastic cigarette lighters

In a letter to Piyush Goyal, he seeks action against its illegal imports

September 09, 2022 12:29 am | Updated 05:17 pm IST - CHENNAI

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. File

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Thursday wrote to Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, urging him for an immediate ban on import of single-use plastic cigarette lighters, and sought for stringent action against its illegal imports.

He pointed out that the matchbox manufacturing industry, a major source of employment in southern Tamil Nadu, was going through a very "difficult phase" currently.

"It is facing stiff challenges from Pakistan and Indonesia in the export markets. The supply chain disruptions following the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the cost and logistic difficulties associated with exports. There has also been a huge increase in input costs," Mr. Stalin said.

A copy of his letter was shared with the media. In this situation, the industry is also quickly losing its domestic market due to competition from single-use plastic cigarette lighters, both legally and illegally imported from countries such as China,” Mr. Stalin pointed out.

"These cigarette lighters are available for ₹10 and can be a substitute for 20 matchboxes. However, these non-refillable lighters result in immense plastic waste, are made of environmentally-damaging plastics. The health impact of the fuel used by them is unknown. Further, if imported cigarette lighters continue to capture the market, then over a lakh people in Tamil Nadu engaged in this industry will lose their livelihood," he contended.

The traditional matchbox manufacturing industry employs over one lakh people directly. Women comprise most of the workforce.

"Further, the industry is a vital engine of economic growth in a region that is arid for agriculture. You will be already aware that the matchbox industry earns foreign exchange revenue of around ₹400 crore through exports," the Chief Minister added.

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