A recent notification of the TN Tourism Development Corporation (TNTDC) inviting tenders for setting up eateries, textile and other shops as part of a fair, along with fire cracker shops at the Island Grounds for Diwali, was upheld by the Madras High Court, subject to certain conditions, on Monday.
The first Bench granted the permission, while dismissing a batch of public interest writ petitions from the Chennai Fire Works Dealers Welfare Association and the Chennai Metro Fire Works Dealers Association and social worker ‘Traffic’ K R Ramaswamy, challenging the notification on the ground that permission to set up other shops including eateries and hotels at the Island Grounds would pose a serious threat to public safety.
The bench noted that there would be a 70-metre gap between the cracker shops and other shops, as the Cooum river ran between them. There should not be any encroachment on either side. The cracker shops should be put up strictly as per the guidelines of the Department of Explosives.
Since the experts in the relevant fields had given their opinion and suggestions on the smooth conduct of the fair as well as the sale of fire crackers in the temporary sheds in the Island Grounds and given the assurance that all safety and rescue measures would be in place, this court was of
the view that the apprehension expressed by the petitioners in this regard had been answered adequately and sufficiently.
The bench directed the authorities concerned to ensure that all safety and rescue measures were put in place for the cracker shops to be put up throughout the State for Diwali.