CHENNAI: Pointing out that the ban on the sale and bursting of crackers during the Deepavali season in Odisha and Rajasthan due to the COVID situation would have a direct bearing on the livelihoods of lakhs of people in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday requested the Chief Ministers of these states – Naveen Patnaik and Ashok Gehlot respectively – to lift the ban.
“Tamil Nadu state produces mainly green crackers and therefore the question of environmental pollution does not arise. There is no empirical or validated data to demonstrate that the bursting of crackers has an effect on COVID patients. I, therefore, request you to reconsider the decision to ban the sale and bursting of crackers in your state for this Deepavali season,” the Chief Minister said in his letter to his counterparts in Odisha and Rajasthan.
The Chief Minister also pointed out that Tamil Nadu had been a major cracker manufacturing state using raw materials that ensure reduced emission levels and low decibels. The state contributes about 90 percent of the total manufacture of crackers in the country, providing direct employment to around four lakh people and indirect employment to four lakh people, he said.
“Their livelihood solely depends on the sale of crackers during Deepavali season. The ban on bursting crackers in your state can have a direct bearing on the livelihood of over 8 lakh workers in the state of Tamil Nadu and another equal number of people engaged in its sale,” the Chief Minister added.
Palaniswami also recalled that the Supreme Court, in its judgment dated October 23, 2018, considering the direct and indirect employment involved in the manufacturing of crackers, as well as to safeguard the traditional/cultural way of celebrating the Deepavali festival, directed all the states “to encourage bursting of crackers in public places for a limited period of 2 hours on the day of Deepavali”.
Tamil Nadu, in tune with the SC directions, had restricted the bursting of green crackers to one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, he added.