Chennai: With the Supreme Court banning the sale of crackers in Delhi, the fireworks manufacturers in Tamil Nadu have been badly hit as their huge stocks sent for sale in north India, worth over Rs 500 crore, is being returned by the big distributors and retailers there.
“Even today, more than 100 containers of crackers sent to the north have returned to Chennai. We are very worried,” said a wholesale dealer in Chennai. Tamil Nadu accounts for 85 % of all crackers sold in the country and according to industry sources, the total annual estimated turnover of the firecracker industry is about Rs 4,000 crore. The industry employs over 3,00,000 workers while another 5,00,000 are engaged in related industries like packaging, printing, paper rolling and transportation.
The ban and the also the sudden return of consignments have left the firecracker manufacturers dazed and clueless about their future. Many have no idea how they would manage to pay wages to their workers.
“The industry is deeply worried about job losses and the resultant livelihood problems of the workers,” a manufacturer says. This is not the only problem. They are apprehensive that the Supreme Court’s ban order for Delhi and NCR may extend to other states. Taking into account the high GST slab of 28 %, the units halved the production, said sources in the Tamil Nadu Fireworks Manufacturers’ Association. On Friday, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the ban doesn’t mean a Deepavali without crackers. Media reports said the Supreme Court Bench had observed that “we haven’t stopped the bursting of crackers. That will happen. Sale had already taken place.” Says a wholesale crackers dealer, “the ban is likely to give room for black market and flooding of Chinese crackers. The ban could be lifted in the interest of the workers employed in the cracker making units.”...