The Union commerce and industries minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced that her ministry would allow fireworks display at the Thrissur Pooram festival in Kerala under the prevailing set of rules.
For this, the ministry has asked manufacturers of locally-made fireworks—amittu, kuzhiminnal, palm leaf crackers, multishots, gundus and others—to obtain authorisation from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), Nagpur.
The minister affirmed that the fireworks, branded or traditional, containing dangerous and prohibited potassium chlorate or any other chlorate will not be allowed for display during the festival.
“We will not allow display of unauthorised fireworks without licence. Unlike branded fireworks, traditional fireworks do not carry information on the content and composition of chemicals, and manufacturers of these fireworks do not carry licence to store and display such items. For this, we have offered the manufacturers of traditional fireworks a definite timeline for applying and issuance for licence,” the commerce minister said.
“We will be writing to the chief secretary of Kerala to authorise the district magistrate to follow the rule to ensure important and valuable tradition continues, but with all the safety mechanisms in place,” she said.
The commerce minister highlighted the tragic fire that had broken out during fireworks display at the 500-year-old Puttingal temple at Paravoor (in Kollam district) last year, killing 108 people and injuring over a hundred.
“A recent accident during display of fireworks at Paravoor, Kerala has brought out several discrepancies such as lack of effective enforcement of the explosive safety rules on the part of the district administration, use of unauthorised fireworks and chemicals, unauthorised storage of fireworks at public display site and non-adherence of prescribed safety distances between display site and spectators,” Sitharaman said.
To prevent such incidents in the future, there is an urgent need to enforce the Explosives Rules 2008 by district authorities, she said.
“For this, we have developed an effective mechanism and procedures have been simplified. We have created a single window at the DM office. Therefore, there is no need to go to SEPO office in Nagpur. The applicants will have to apply about two months prior to the display date. The permission for the same will be granted within 30 days, a month prior to the event,” the minister said.
PESO will approve the fireworks drawing within 10 days and after submission of fireworks samples, authorisation will be accorded within 30 days.