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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Tamil Nadu: 28 cracker units sealed; licences suspended in wake of firework accidents

The crackdown came on the heels of the government ordering a probe into a series of firework accidents, the most recent of which claimed more than 29 lives and left more than 40 injured last month.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
Updated: March 2, 2021 4:20:42 pm
The owners of many such fireworks units have grown cautious in the wake of the surprise checks, the revenue officer said.

Seven inspection teams, including officials from various departments and bodies such as Revenue, Police, Fire and Rescue, Industrial Safety and Petroleum & Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO), suspended licences and temporarily sealed 28 cracker manufacturing units after a round of surprise checks in Virudunagar district of Tamil Nadu.

The crackdown came on the heels of the government ordering a probe into a series of firework accidents, the most recent of which claimed more than 29 lives and left more than 40 injured last month.

On the direction of the district revenue officer, the officials conducted surprise inspections at various firecracker units in the district. Each team was given the responsibility to inspect 10 units a day.

Another senior official said that the owners of the sealed units might reapply for licences over the next three or four months, with an assurance of meeting all safety standards.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, District Revenue Officer R Mangalasubramanian said many of these units allowed employees to work outside the allocated sheds. “There are sheds meant for specific purposes. Improper ways of allowing finished goods to dry, dumping all the semi-furnished goods, raw materials, black fuses together in one area, manufacturing items beyond capacity, working in open spaces are some of the violations we observed at these units,” he said.

The revenue officer added that the owners of many such fireworks units have grown cautious in the wake of the surprise checks. While some have started abiding by the safety norms, others have simply shut down their units citing the heat and rising temperatures.

Another senior official said that the owners of the sealed units might reapply for licences over the next three or four months, with an assurance of meeting all safety standards. However, he added that only after another round of spot inspections and thorough checks will a call be taken on re-issuing their licences.

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