Fireworks industry facing crisis due to police raids after temple tragedy

Sunday, Apr 24, 2016,11:27 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Fireworks contractors and dealers on saturday alleged that the two lakh member-strong industry was facing unprecedented crisis due to frequent police raids and legal action against them in the wake of the Puttingal temple tragedy which claimed 108 lives early this month.

Even the authorised fireworks licensees and dealers, who have the legal right to keep and deliver the prescribed amount of raw materials to manufature fireworks, were not being spared by police, they said.

After the temple tragedy, even the fireworks manufactures and dealers, who possess authorised licenses and pay sales tax regularly, are being penalised, Kerala Fire Works Licensees and Dealers Labour Union state general secretary Naushad Kaipadi told a press meet here. Frequent police raids and legal actions have affected our business largely, he said.

Quoting the 1996 order of the Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, Kaipadi said as many as 23 chemicals including aluminium powder, aluminium nitrate, dry calcium, sodium nitrate, coper sulphate and so on, which are used as ingredients in the manufacturing of fireworks, are not explosives by itself.

So, its possession, storage, use and transport do not attract the provision of Explosives Rules 1983. But, what is happening in the state now is that even the licensees and authorised dealers who keep and deliver these ingredients under the permissible level are penalised, he said.

The latest developments had created a crisis-like situation in the fireworks manufacturing industry, in which two lakh unskilled workers besides licensees and dealers are working. However, the union leader said potassium chlorate, which was allegedly used in the Puttingal fireworks display, was not permitted in the manufacturing of fireworks.

If it was used in the fireworks display at the festival, it should be inquired. It was wrong, he said. Police launched intensive raids across the state to seize fireworks and its ingredients, illegally stored, soon after the Puttingal temple disaster in the early hours on April 10.

The mishap occurred as sparks from fireworks fell on the storeroom ‘Kambapura’ and the crackers, kept there, exploded. The blaze spread quickly trapping devotees within the complex.