Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president KS Alagiri on Thursday urged Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to contact the Centre and act on a war footing to save the cracker industry which has been suffering due to the ban imposed by the Supreme Court.
Referring to the October 23, 2018, order of SC, banning crackers in New Delhi owing to pollution, Alagiri said that Sivakasi, which was the leader in cracker production across the country, was in dire straits and livelihood of nearly 20 lakh people engaged in cracker sector across the country has been jeopardised.
Recalling the August 21, 2018, affidavit of the Union Environment Ministry proposing a cracker ban, the TNCC chief, in a statement issued on Thursday said that of the 1,200 crackers units in Sivakasi, only 28 have obtained license to manufacture crackers as per the new regulation of the Centre and that too for only manufacturing one variety of cracker each. Wondering how the 28 licensed units be able to manufacture crackers for the whole country, Alagiri claimed that the production has fallen by 40 per cent and economy has taken a hit to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore.
Attributing air pollution in New Delhi to burning of agricultural waste after sugarcane harvest in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Alagiri said the double standard of the Centre has been exposed by it allotting Rs 1,600 crore to prevent air pollution in the national capital and making no efforts to save cracker industry in Sivakasi. Pointing to the Chief Minister’s inaction on the representation made by cracker manufacturers on October 26, 2018, the state Congress president said the flawed policy of the Centre and state has forced cracker manufacturers to shut shop and explore alternative occupation.