The Supreme Court’s ban on sale of crackers across the country has dealt a blow to the industry.. The leaders in the field, however, are gearing up sfor a better and “greener” future since they are the only varieties that the apex court has excluded from the ban.
While the court did not elaborate on which crackers constitute as “green”, the judgment made it clear that only those that emit extremely low sound will be allowed for use. But, even among them, crackers using barium salts are also banned.
The industry, however, is at large relieved at the judgment as they feared a blanket ban on sale of crackers across the country. Nevertheless, the industry leaders are gearing up to fight a legal battle.
Mariappan, the general secretary of Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA), who is considered the main reason for the survival of the industry by approaching the Supreme Court with effective points in defence, is now busy to present his case at the court. He said, “The Supreme Court judgment is against the principles of natural justice. The court and the government should help the industry grow but instead it is trying to shut down the industry”.
He also accused Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) for lack in interest to revive the cracker industry and slammed it for its lacklustre attitude shown in the trial, which according to Mariappan is one of the prime reasons for numerous restrictions being slapped on the industry.
“It is mostly the labourers who are affected by the restrictions. Many did not have a job for several months because of the uncertainty over the case verdict,” said Mariappan.
Heaving a sigh of relief over the window that the apex court allowed it, owners of cracker manufacturing industry are trying to focus on their future course of action. They claim that with this order, the Supreme Court has shown them the path that they should take.
“As a part of the cracker industry, we are ready to update ourselves. We learned our craft from China and made crackers for survival but now if the top court wants us to make eco-friendly crackers, we will learn how to make those as well,” said Kartheeswaran, one of the directors of Sri Velavan Fire Works, in Meenampatti village, near Sivakasi.
Kartheeswaran also said that a majority of the owners of cracker plants feel that a group of people from Sivakasi should be sent to China to learn the technique of manufacturing “green crackers”. “It’s time for the youth to learn the new techniques and lead the industry,” he said.
But, Kartheeswaran, added that the changes would take time. “We need to work on new chemical combinations for eco-friendly crackers but that will require fresh investment and training for labourers which cannot be worked out immediately,” he said.