The surge in demand for Chinese crackers in India is threatening the domestic fireworks industry worth Rs 6,000 crore, PMK youth wing chief Anbumani Ramadoss has said.
Ramadoss has written to the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industries Nirmala Sitaraman urging the government to ban the import of Chinese crackers in India, which he said, are making inroads into the Indian market illegally, states a report in The New Indian Express.
In the letter dated September 4, the PMK leader said that the Chinese crackers which are flooding the Indian market will affect the livelihood of more than 90 lakh people who work in or are associated with the industry. Orders have already been placed with Chinese manufacturers and imports are likely to double this year.
â€śApart from a business loss, Chinese crackers are hazardous in nature and also proving to be non-conducive to the security of the country,â€ť the report quotes him as adding in the letter.
The Centre recently issued a public notification warning anyone involved in the illegal import of Chinese crackers in the country with legal consequences.
"We have taken action. Last night we have issued a notification and advertisement that it is illegal to sell imported crackers in retail, since there has been no permit given to anyone to import crackers. If found in markets, investigation would be made on how it found its way into India," Nirmala Sitharaman said. "But I am making it clear here that no permission has been given to anyone for importing crackers. So, illegal import, possession and selling of crackers from other countries is undoubtedly a crime," she added.
The Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA) has also urged the government to stop the sale of illegal Chinese crackers in Diwali, stating their sales to distributors have gone down by 35 per cent, an increase of 10 percent as compared to last year.
The flourishing business of illegal crackers in Indian markets is aided by several factors. Crackers are often labelled as toys so they aren't easy to detect and get easy access. Manufacturers of such crackers usually send their goods directly to distributors. Officials also do not have the adequate manpower or equipment to track and detect the containers and there is an entire nexus behind the smuggling of crackers, explains a report in The New Indian Express. Also, Potassium chlorate used in Chinese crackers was banned in India in 1992 because of the harmful effects it can cause if it comes in contact with the skin or eyes, adds the report.