CHENNAI: Opposition DMK today urged the Centre to save the fireworks industry in Tamil Nadu's Sivakasi which is on an indefinite closure demanding an amendment to the Environment Protection Act to exempt their produce from its purview.
"The Centre should step in to save the firecracker manufacturing cluster in Sivakasi, which accounts for 90 per cent of Indian firecracker production and protect the industry employing lakhs of workers," DMK Working President M K Stalin said in a tweet.
He said his party MPs in Rajya Sabha would raise the issue.
Firecracker manufacturing units in and around Sivakasi in southern Virudhunagar district that employ about eight lakh workers directly and indirectly have been on the shutdown since December 26.
Besides seeking amendment to the Environment Protection Act to exempt their produce from its ambit, they have also urged the state government to implead itself in a petition pending before the Supreme Court seeking a nation-wide ban on crackers.
More than 860 factories in Sivakasi belt also had sought expeditious hearing of the petition - the outcome of which will have a bearing on them- by the Supreme Court.
The plea in the apex court seeks a series of steps to curb air pollution, including a ban on sale, possession and bursting of firecrackers.
The manufacturers had said that dealers were not paying advances for firecrackers in view of the pendency of the petition and this affected the working capital required by the industry. The traders were not paying advance as they feared that the court may ban fireworks across the country.