TN firecracker units shut shop citing official harassment


Firecracker units in Tamil Nadu have shut down shops following a call by the Tamilan Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TAFMA) citing official harassment.

The shut down, which commenced on Monday, will continue indefinitely. The association will also conduct a protest march on Friday in Virudhunagar with the participation of more than one lakh people, including workers of the firecracker units.

TAFMA President V. Kathalingam told IANS, “The officials have seized all our finished goods under the pretext of inspection and are treating the firecracker unit owners as criminals.”

He said that even after the units fulfilled all the norms of the licensing agencies, the officials are harassing them with lame charges and making it difficult for them to run the firecracker units.

The TAFMA chief said their association has 195 members and 150 of them have licence issued by the district licensing authority. The rest have licences issued by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation in Chennai and Nagpur.

He said that they would continue with their protest demanding relaxation in the use of barium nitrate salt as well as garner permission to manufacture garland crackers.

The leaders of the firecracker units have also decided to hand over the keys of the units to Virudhunagar District Collector Meganatha Reddy as a mark of protest on Thursday.

Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu is the firecracker capital of the country with the maximum production of firecrackers. This small town in Viruduhunagar district accounts for more than 70 per cent of the firecrackers manufactured in the country. The firecrackers from this town are in demand across the country during Divali celebrations as well as all other occasions.

Krishnakumar, a businessman from Kozhikode in Kerala, told IANS, “We depend mainly on Sivakasi for sales of firecrackers during Vishu and even one day strike by these units will affect our business. We sell crackers worth around Rs 50 lakh during this month as part of the Vishu sales, with the business peaking during the middle of April when the festival is held.”



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