India's firecracker, Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu's Virudhunagar district, appears lifeless after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a ban on the sale, use, and storage of firecrackers for festival of lights, Diwali, due to pollution concerns during the winter season. Sivakasi's firecracker industry is considered to be worth Rs 6,000 crore and industry sources said that Delhi and the National Capital Region make for around 15% share of this.
Talking to IANS, Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA) President, P. Ganeshan said: "We were allowed to manufacture firecrackers and suddenly the Delhi government has brought in a ban. We don't know the reason for this ban and request the Delhi government and all other governments to allow use of firecrackers for two hours during Deepavali (Diwali)."
He said that production of firecrackers is strictly in compliance with the Supreme Court's directives and that seven states including Rajasthan and Delhi have crackers worth crores in stock due to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The firecracker manufacturers and distributors of Sivakasi are not expecting business from Delhi and Rajasthan for this year but want the present stocks worth crores to be used during Diwali so that the crackers are sold during the next season.
"The major industry and the major livelihood of this area are firecrackers and our life is based on this. If Delhi bans firecrackers, other states are likely to follow suit. If that happens, then we are doomed," Silambarasan, owner of a small firecracker unit in Sivakasi, told IANS.
The production of firecrackers in Sivakasi this season has dipped by 30% and the production would be around 25 crore kilos.
Silambarasan said that there are around 1070 manufacturing units and over 1,000 traders in and around Virudhunagar, including in Sivakasi.
The firecracker manufacturers and other traders have expressed hope that the Delhi government will revoke the ban and that the business would flourish in the days to come.