Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exempt the fireworks manufacturing industry in the state from environment protection rules to save the livelihood of eight lakh families.
"I urge you to direct the Ministry of Environment to carry out necessary amendment to Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986," he said in a letter to Modi.
Stating that 850 fireworks manufacturing units are functioning in Tamil Nadu, he said these units were mostly in Virudhunagar district, which contribute 90 percent of the fireworks produced in the country.
Since use of fireworks is attached to our socio-cultural traditions, any ban on production, sale and its use would adversely affect sentiments of the people of India, he said.
Even developed countries, including America and Japan, allow massive display of fireworks, he said.
Firecracker units provide employment to "more than eight lakh people mostly women, directly or indirectly," he said, adding that a ban would push them further into poverty.
The manufacturers observe very high safety standards, he said, adding the industry was however facing a major setback due to Public Interest Litigations in the Supreme Court to ban the manufacture, sale and use of fireworks.
"This has created fear and uncertainty in the minds of firework manufacturers, leading to disruption of production as they are unsure about the outcome of the pending PILs."
The firecracker manufacturers have suffered severe financial losses and there has also been loss of employment due to the ban on sale of fireworks in Delhi NCR region during the last Deepavali season, he said.
Though the ban was subsequently lifted by the Supreme Court, some more PILs were filed and these have been admitted, he noted.
With improvements in chemical technology, better quality fireworks which lead to lesser pollution are constantly being evolved. Almost all reported scientific data has revealed reversal of pollution level within 24 hours of being used.
Manufacturers of fireworks in Tamil Nadu use nitrate salts for production, which is much less polluting than chloride salts, the chief minister said.
Further, no firework manufacturer in Tamil Nadu use the chemicals prohibited under various pollution control rules or by the Supreme Court.
These manufacturers use safe and environment friendly products and there are no recorded long-term effects on the environment, the chief minister said.
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Updated Date: Jan 18, 2018 09:52:21 IST