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Sivakasi traders to challenge Supreme Court ban on using certain chemicals in crackers

The court barred the use of barium nitrate and aluminium in all firecrackers.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2018 00:09 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Supreme Court firecracker,Firecracker,Sivakasi
A file photo of crackers market in Ludhiana.(HT Photo)

Manufacturers in the country’s fireworks’ production hub in Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi are saying they will file a review petition challenging a ban on using certain chemicals for the production of firecrackers the Supreme Court imposed on Tuesday.

The court barred the use of barium nitrate and aluminium in all firecrackers while setting nationwide guidelines for the use and purchase of crackers during Diwali season to check air and noise pollution. Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TNFAMA) general secretary K Mariyappan called a review petition “necessary”.

“Around 40% of popular crackers and firework varieties (worth around Rs 1,900 crore this year) have been manufactured using aluminium and barium nitrate,’’ he said. He said the court banned barium nitrate and aluminium based on a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) report that said magnesium should be used instead. “[We have] been asked to use magnesium and water. Our studies have shown that use of magnesium is harmful...,” he added.

Former Central Pollution Control Board’s air quality laboratory head D Saha said compounds like barium nitrate are used in crackers to emit green colour while aluminium for white and silver colours. “They are not at all mandatory. Instead, the fumes they produce are toxic...”

“Whether it is the court or the government, changes are effected just days before Diwali, making life difficult for us,” he said, pointing out over 500,000 people in Sivakasi are dependent on the manufacturing industry.

Fireworks dealers and traders say they have their own problems. “About 90% of those engaged in crackers business have only temporary licenses. Though we submit applications for their renewal with the authorities in January, they clear them only a week before Diwali...,” said N Elangovan, general secretary of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Fireworks Traders. “ The government claims to have stopped the entry of Chinese fireworks, the reality is different...”

State industries minister MC Sampath could not be reached for a comment but an official with the industries department said the government is taking measures to rectify some of these issues.

First Published: Oct 24, 2018 00:09 IST