Suryakant Jena

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K. Stalin has urged his counterpart in Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, along with the CMs of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi to reconsider the ban on the sale of firecrackers and allow sale of green crackers during Diwali this year.

In a letter to four Chief Ministers, Stalin requested them to allow the sale of firecrackers, which fall under the norms set by the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal (NGT), in their respective states during this Diwali.

Citing the Apex court's order of allowing green crackers, Stalin said a blanket ban on firecrackers was not reasonable. "Such a ban is not prevalent in other countries. Moreover, such a ban if imposed by other states also, would lead to the closure of the entire industry, jeopardising the livelihood of around 8 lakh persons," the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said.

"You would also appreciate that bursting of firecrackers is an integral part of Indian festivals, especially Diwali. A balanced approach that gives due regard to environment, livelihood and public health is possible and necessary," he added.

Nearly 90 per cent of the country's firecrackers are made in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu and about eight lakh workers are dependent on this sector.

Stalin acknowledged the ban by on firecrackers by the governments of Odisha and some other States as a decision based on concerns regarding air pollution but also wrote that since the Supreme Court has already banned certain categories of polluting firecrackers and now green crackers with significantly less emissions are being manufactured, a blanket ban on firecrackers is not reasonable. 

Apart from Delhi and Rajasthan, the Odisha government on September 30 had ordered a complete ban on sale and use of firecrackers during October to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

"With a view to protecting the health of the general public and to curb the infection, sale and use of the firecrackers shall remain prohibited during this festival season," the Special Relief Commissioner Pradeep Jena had stated in a directive.