Lok Sabha MP from Sriperumbudur constituency, T R Baalu Saturday wrote to Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar urging him to personally ensure the “sudden ban” on the sale of firecrackers in several states ahead of Diwali was lifted, as it affected the prospects of the fireworks industry in Tamil Nadu. The DMK leader said the bans imposed would affect the employment of 8 lakh workers in the state.
He challenged the environmental and health rationale behind the bans and asserted that crackers were manufactured according to the Supreme Court guidelines, thereby having low emission levels and containing no poisonous or banned chemicals.
Baalu claimed 90 per cent of the fireworks in the market were produced in Sivakasi, and were manufactured taking into account an eco-friendly environment. He also raised the point that the apex court had allowed the bursting of crackers with a 2-hour limit.
Baalu said states had banned crackers fearing an adverse impact on the Covid-19 situation without concrete proof. Calling the bans “unsubstantiated” and “unscientific”, he said, “So far, no concrete proof has come out that bursting of crackers is injurious and detrimental to the Covid-19 patients.”
Baalu appealed to Gangwar to compensate those affected by the bans. “I am sure that as a welfare state, you will appreciate that it is the Government of India’s responsibility to protect the workers against this kind of sudden ban,” he wrote.
Ahead of the festive season, several states including Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Delhi among others have banned the sale of firecrackers, fearing the adverse impact on the prevailing Covid-19 situation. The ban in states is to rule out any potential risk of spreading of virus or creating difficulties for those who have already been battling the disease. Delhi, which has been grappling with high pollution levels along with an uptick in daily coronavirus cases, has enforced a blanket ban on crackers.