In a letter to all chief secretaries ahead of Diwali, the ministry said more than 600 containers of fireworks are likely to be smuggled from China this year through various ports such as Kandla, Mumbai, Kolkata and Tuticorin. The firework products include potassium chlorate, which is a dangerous chemical and can ignite or explode spontaneously when mixed with a combustible material. Moreover, the Indian fireworks industry is under threat from these products as these are low priced due to usage of potassium chlorate, the letter said.
The manufacture, possession and use of any explosive comprising sulphur or sulphurate mixed with any chlorate is banned in India since 1992. Accordingly, no licence for import of Chinese fireworks has been granted under the Explosives Rules, 2008, by the Petroleum Safety Organisation.
The MHA has also asked states to instruct district officials to curb the sale of Chinese crackers and take action against anyone caught with such fireworks.
The Indian fireworks industry is estimated to be between Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 crore. Indian Fireworks Manufacturers Association president A S Arjun Raja said though the amount of such crackers entering India was negligible, they were dangerous. We are keeping a close watch on such firecrackers, he said.