New Delhi: This festive season fate of over eight lakh workers of cracker industry remains uncertain. Cracker manufacturers are claiming that their last year stock is still lying unsold and there is no clarity on the sale of crackers this year during Diwali.
Cracker manufacturing industry took a hit last year after the supreme court banned the sale of fireworks in Delhi-NCR to combat rising air pollution in the national capital.
In 2017, Delhi was covered under thick blanket of smoke, dropping the air quality level to “hazardous”.
Following the ban, the production of fireworks industries fell down to half as compared to past – owing to which, last year’s stock is still lying unsold.
“In view of the SC case, many wholesalers have not placed bulk orders for the festive season which was usually placed before two months of the festive season. We can expect bulk orders only after the verdict,” said a Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturer. He added that the SC had ruled out imposing a nationwide ban on firecrackers during the course of the hearing itself.
Another manufacturer said with uncertainty over the SC verdict, firework production has reduced to 50 per cent of the total capacity as most of the manufacturers have huge unsold stock from last year. The Delhi-NCR market accounts for about 30 per cent of the total fireworks sale, and North India for about 80 per cent.
Even the uncertainty is looming over the biggest manufacturing hub – Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi, fireworks capital of India.
With more than 900 fireworks factories at the site, Sivakasi accounts for 90% of the fireworks supply of the country – which, in turn, generates annual turnover of Rs 5000 crore. People of Sivakasi, including children, are totally dependent on firework manufacturing for livelihood.
Sivakasi Sony Fireworks director, Gansehan says “Livelihood of 8-9 lakh people depends on this industry. Huge stock is lying unsold after last year supreme court judgement on the ban on sale and purchase of fireworks in Delhi-NCR due to rising pollution levels. There is a lot of uncertainty.”
Like the previous year, Delhi’s air quality is in the poor category but authorities have predicted that it would escalate to ‘very poor’ category in the next couple of days. In Delhi, the overall air quality index (AQI) recorded at 4 pm on October 13, rose to 300 – which is considered to be “poor”.
Last year, Delhiites stressed that in view of ban, Diwali was quieter but the air-quality still remained affected.