With the Diwali season around the corner, the Tamil Nadu government has moved the Centre demanding exemption for the fireworks manufacturing industry from various provisions of the environment protection rules.
This, according to the state government, was required to save the livelihood of around eight lakh people who work in the industry in the state as the industry off late has been suffering owing to several litigations and subsequent ban on the sale of products over environmental concerns.
State chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to direct the ministry of environment to carry out necessary amendment to Rule 3 (b) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, and exempt the fireworks manufacturing industry from various provisions of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.
The state which accounts for 90% of the fireworks produced in the country has got 850 manufacturing units. The units are mostly located in Virudhunagar district.
In the recent past, the industry has been facing a major setback due to filing of PILs by a few NGOs and individuals before the Supreme Court to ban manufacture, sale and use of fireworks in any form.
The manufacturers of fireworks have suffered severe financial losses and there has also been loss of employment due to imposition of ban on the sale of fireworks in the NCR during the 2017 Diwali season. Even though the ban was subsequently lifted by the SC, a few more PILs have been filed and the same have been admitted. This has created fear and uncertainty among firework manufacturers. Workers of around 850 factories went on a strike from December 26, 2017, to January 19 this year, as they are unsure about the outcome of the pending PILs.
“As per the request of the Fireworks Manufacturers Association, an implead petition was filed by the department of MSMEs on behalf of the Tamil Nadu government. The case was heard last on August 28, 2018, and was reserved for judgment. The issue has to be sorted out immediately,” a government communication said.