Sivakasi, the fireworks nerve centre keeps fingers crossed as Delhi bans bangers

fireworks, sivakasi, atom bomb, tamil nadi, delhi, diwali

A Robot. Anyone seeing him at work may easily mistake him for a machine in action, picking up small, shining white packs of chemical compounds and wrapping them up in jute thread in a jiffy, all along moving his head up and down in rhythmic motion. Kanirasa, the 40-year old man, never went to a gym, it is his work that has sculpted his biceps.

Once dyed green and after insertion of a wick, ‘Atom bomb,’ a favourite of teenagers during Deepavali will be ready and Kanirasa, who could churn out over 3,000 pieces, in about six to eight hours is part of the ‘Atom Bomb’ team. Welcome to Sivakasi in southern Tamil Nadu, the fireworks hub of the nation where workers sweat it out in factories to produce firecrackers for Deepavali.

People dependent on this industry hope that the national capital territory government would reconsider its decision, keeping fingers crossed that no state should follow Delhi’s move against firecrackers.

Days ago, the Delhi government banned sale, use, storage of firecrackers for the festival of lights over pollution concerns.

“What is the basis of Delhi government’s ban?, we were allowed to manufacture and now suddenly they have come up with this decision,” says President of Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA), P Ganesan questioning Delhi’s rationale.

The production is in strict compliance with government norms and by following Supreme Court’s directives including those related to green crackers, he says. Last year, following the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, states including Rajasthan and the Delhi government banned fircrackers. At least seven states including Rajasthan and Delhi have unsold stocks worth crores and “we request the Delhi government and all others to allow use of firecrackers as per norms on Deepavali for two hours,” the TANFAMA chief told PTI. It is very important that such markets exhaust stocks so that they “could come to us for the next season and we are not expecting business from such regions now.”

This year Deepavali will be celebrated on November 4.

The firecracker industry is estimated to be around Rs 6,000 crore out of which Delhi National Capital Region’s share is around 15 per cent, that works out to Rs 900 crore, says Ganesan.

Factoring in aspects like the unsold inventory in places like Delhi, the production this year is approximately 25 crore kilos, which is about 30 per cent less than usual, he says.

“The pandemic was also a factor that led to productions cuts.” As many as 1,070 manufacturing facilities of various sizes and over a 1,000 traders of firecrackers function in and around the Virudhunagar region of Tamil Nadu including Sivakasi, the fireworks nerve centre.

Raju of Vimal Fireworks Factory says “by this time of the year, the dispatches should be going on in full swing, but that is not the case now.” Raju says the cycle of payment for supplies made is badly stuck and there is a dip of at least 40 per cent in fresh orders for them. “The stock movement is very sluggish in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka markets as well.”

When asked on business this year, G Selva Ganesan, who runs a wholesale cum retail outlet at Paraipatti in Sivakasi, he came up with a rather simple, but impressive answer. “Sivakasi’s market place and the thoroughfares are the best indicators of brisk business. In case we had good business, you will not be able to even walk or cross any of these stretches as workers will be busy loading innumerable trucks. Did you see any significant cargo traffic here? Truck operators and loaders here don’t get much work from us,” he says. “Usually, we get orders from a slew of people collecting Deepavali Fund to distribute crackers. Now, there is no orders from them too.”

Some firms and individuals in Tamil Nadu collect voluntary contributions through the year to give away firecrackers ahead of Deepavali (and other items to participants of the fund drive) at a cheaper price as they would be purchasing in bulk. The seemingly lull scenario in the firecrackers industry has led to cyclical developments as well.

P Rangabashyam of Sapthagiri Packs, a Sivakasi based manufacturer of corrugated boxes said that for months together there were no fresh orders from makers of fireworks.

“Since 50 per cent of our business is from the food industry, we managed to an extent, but several units that solely depend on them are the worst hit.” On the whole, Rangabashyam says his business saw a 60 per cent cut in orders from firecracker makers and only from last month his company is getting orders from makers of firecrackers. “I understand that these fresh orders are to cater to the Tamil Nadu market,” he says.

S Siva Subramanian, who owns an offset printing factory catering to the fireworks industry has a similar version. “Over-time” work is an important part of earnings for workers, but “we could not give them extra work at all. It is true that there is a lull in business.”

While fireworks makers and others rue the losses, workers continue their job despite it being really hard. After Kanirasa completes his task, his colleague, a woman, deftly uses a needle to pierce the jute thread bundle and get to the small, white chemical-pack to fix a wick and the atom bomb is ready ! Asked how she does the tough job so quickly, she replies, “it is muscle memory that helps, I could plant over 2,000 wicks in a matter of few hours.”

S Velsamy, a veteran worker in fireworks industry says that people like him already lost income due to the pandemic since factories were shut for sometime and the current ban is of “concern as it may have a ripple effect for us all.”

“We are dependent on this industry. We are skilled only in the manufacturing process of firecrackers,” he says and naively asks whether, “some state governments contemplate banning fireworks like last year.”

Industry insiders claim that a total of about 8 lakh people in and around Virudhunagar district, directly and indirectly depend on the industry for their livelihood. This includes three lakh workers in firecracker manufacturing units alone, a majority of whom are women. People in the industry and those in allied sectors want the Delhi government to reconsider its move and say that if “others (state governments) are to follow suit, we will be doomed and that is why it is crucial that Delhi does a rethink.”

The industry is already facing sluggish business, in part due to the pandemic and if governments were to bar firecrackers, it would cause serious trouble, they said.

Government sources in the district said only around 80,000 to a maximum of one lakh people are in the organised fireworks manufacturing industry -in about 1,000 units- with a Provident Fund and Employees State Insurance Corporation cover.

Firecracker traders and manufacturers pointed out that many business people in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere, who usually put up firecracker stalls ahead of Deepavali are undecided on doing business this year as they feared losses in the event of a third wave of the pandemic.

“The real business is yet to start,” they say adding a fear over a third wave of pandemic is among the key factors, according to them. No wonder, a chunk of wholesale outlets on a stretch of about 30 kilometers, right from the Virudhunagar Highway on the one end and the road towards Sattur on the other end of Sivakasi, are as quiet as a mouse.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Norway attack victims were killed by stabbings, not arrows, police say

The five victims of last week’s attack in Norway were all stabbed to death, rather than killed by bow-and-arrow as previously thought, police said Monday. © Terje Bendiksby/NTB/AFP/Getty Images Flowers ... Read more »

5 Ways to Minimise Your Credit Card Overseas Spending Fees

© Provided by MoneySmart credit card overseas spending fees Using your credit card when you’re on holiday sure beats hiding wads of cash in your socks and underwear to deter ... Read more »

UK under pressure to reimpose restrictions as COVID cases soar

© Provided by Al Jazeera A passenger wearing a face mask travels on the Central Line tube amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain on June ... Read more »

Kashmir migrant workers flee amid rise in suspected rebel attacks

© Provided by Al Jazeera Indian migrant workers wait with their belongings inside a railway station to board trains to their home states on the outskirts of Srinagar [Danish Ismail/Reuters] ... Read more »

Great news for savers: Interest rates set to rise this year - but warning to taxpayers

Interest rates have been fairly abysmal as a result of the Bank of England’s decision to decrease its base rate to a record low of 0.1 percent in April 2020 ... Read more »

Soldier suing MoD for £3.7m 'faked condition', court hears

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo An ex-soldier who is suing the MoD for £3.7million over trench foot is facing claims he faked his condition by packing his feet ... Read more »

Steve McQueen's ‘Small Axe' to Get First European Film Award for Innovative Storytelling

© SmallAxeFilms_BBC_DesWillie_740 Steve McQueen on Small Axe set Steve McQueen has won the inaugural European Film Award for Innovative Storytelling for Small Axe, an anthology of five films set between ... Read more »

O'Neill calls for party leaders meeting to discuss continuation of legacy talks

The Sinn Fein vice president has called for a meeting of Northern Ireland’s party leaders to discuss whether to continue the legacy talks process. Michelle O’Neill said there has been ... Read more »

What does an inflation rise mean for your pension? Who will lose out if CPI soars

The latest inflation figure is set to be revealed tomorrow on October 20, and it will potentially bring welcome news to state pension recipients who could see their weekly income ... Read more »

Sussex records nearly 200 modern slavery offences since last year

© Credits: © Unsplash person walking alone Sussex Police have recorded 195 Modern Slavery offences in the last 12 months, including trafficking, with almost half the victims being children. The ... Read more »

Who is eligible for the £5,000 heat pump grant and how can you apply?

© Provided by The Independent The government has announced that it will offer households in England and Wales grants of £5,000 from next April to help them replace old gas ... Read more »

Workplace pension contributions and coverage should be increased, says study

The UK has jumped up the rankings in a global study of pension systems, but it warned that many savers still face a retirement “cliff edge”. © PA Archive A ... Read more »

Pacquiao to file charges vs. ex-aide over claims with McGregor fight; Joson says boxer owes him millions

© Screen grab/Senate PRIB Senator Manny Pacquiao during Senate finance subcommittee hearing to discuss DSWD’s 2022 budget. Oct. 11, 2021. Screen grab/Senate PRIB Senator Manny Pacquiao is set to file ... Read more »

Covid booster rollout going ‘extremely slowly', warns expert

© PA Wire People receive a Covid-19 booster jab at Croydon University Hospital in south London (Dominic Lipinski/PA) The Covid booster programme is not following the pace of the vaccine ... Read more »

Covid-19 Ireland: Dr Tony Holohan's bleak hospitalisation warning ahead of restrictions easing

© Steve Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS Dr Tony Holohan Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has warned Health Minister Stephen Donnelly that there could be up to 1,000 people in hospital ... Read more »

Private funeral for Jimmy Greaves to be held on Friday as family say they have been ‘overwhelmed' by tributes

© AFP via Getty Images jimmygreavestributetottenham20092021A.jpg The funeral of England great Jimmy Greaves will take place this Friday. Greaves, who died last month at the age of 81, will be ... Read more »

Home and Away stars tease new twists after Tane attack mystery

Photo credit: Endemol Shine – Channel 5 Home and Away spoilers follow. Home and Away's stars have teased further twists in Tane Parata's mystery attack story, as the evidence begins ... Read more »

Austerity was a killer long before Covid-19

A York University study has found that government austerity caused at least 57,550 deaths in a five year period (Getty Images) Austerity was the central economic policy of the Tory-led ... Read more »

Market Movers: What caused investors to pull the chain on IRCTC's bull run?

MUMBAI: All good things come to an end and in the market sometimes they come to an end abruptly. Today, the IRCTC express was brought to a halt unceremoniously as ... Read more »

Nifty, Sensex snap 7-day winning run on volatile day; IRCTC sinks 15%

MUMBAI: Benchmark equity indices halted their seven-session winning run today on a volatile day of trading on Dalal Street, which saw the indices oscillate between gains and losses. The heightened ... Read more »

WHO-led program aims to buy antiviral Covid-19 pills for $10

A World Health Organization-led program to ensure poorer countries get fair access to Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments aims to secure antiviral drugs for patients with mild symptoms for as ... Read more »

Australian Open könnten ohne Tennis-Star Novak Djokovic stattfinden

Diashow ein Ist Novak Djokovic geimpft und wird er an dem Australian Open teilnehmen? Bereits geimpft ist der Deutsche Alexander Zverev. Auch Viktoria Azarenka ist geimpft und startet eine Debatte ... Read more »

China Open moved to December, but off European Tour calendar

Li Haotong of China in action at the 2020 PGA Championship. Li won the China Open in 2016. Photo: AFP The Chinese golf season will climax with the 2021 Volvo ... Read more »

The Real-Life Murder Trial That Inspired Crime and Punishment

© Provided by The Atlantic Illustration by Gabriela Pesqueira. Source: Universal History Archive / Getty Jesus meets Dostoyevsky. He takes one look at him, peers for a diagnostic instant into ... Read more »

Bill Gates terima menantu Muslim, atlet ekuestrian Mesir, berikut 5 fakta mengenainya

ANAK perempuan sulung Bill Gates, Jennifer Gates baru-baru ini melangsungkan perkahwinan dengan atlet ekuestrian Mesir, Nayel Nassar, 30, yang berketurunan Islam. Daily Mail melaporkan pada malam Jumaat lalu, pasangan muda ... Read more »

All Ariana Grande Monster Hunter punchcard challenges in Fortnite

© Provided by GamePur Ariana Grande has returned to Fortnite. The global superstar, who performed a concert in the game earlier this year, can now be found on the map. ... Read more »

Mitec reopens facilities as business events sector reopens

© Provided by New Straits Times KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (Mitec) has reopened its facilities in conjunction with the reopening of the business events sector, ... Read more »

How To Use Your Credit Card Like a Rich Person

© jacoblund / Getty Images/iStockphoto Two young women walking away from a helicopter with a glass of wine in their hands. When used responsibly, credit cards can be an invaluable ... Read more »

Rashid Khan praises 'amazing' Abu Dhabi Cricket as facility begins T20 World Cup duties

© Provided by The National Afghanistan bowler Rashid Khan believes the large support for his team in the UAE can boost their T20 World Cup chances. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Cricket ... Read more »

UP elections: Congress to give 40% tickets to women, announces Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

© Provided by DNA Congress National General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday announced that the party will give 40% tickets to contest the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections to ... Read more »

Uttarakhand rains: Havoc claims 11 more lives, death toll reaches 16

© Provided by Zee News Dehradun: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said 11 deaths were reported on Tuesday (October 19) in a flood-like situation triggered by heavy rains, taking ... Read more »

Multi-agency group probe on Pandora Papers begins

© Provided by The Statesman Multi-agency group probe on Pandora Papers begins After holding their first meeting last week, the multi-agency group on Pandora Papers started its preliminary investigation of ... Read more »

Naxalite with bounty of Rs 2 lakh nabbed by cops in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli

Gadchiroli Police in Maharashtra have nabbed an Action Team Member of a banned Naxal outfit who had a reward of Rs 2 lakh on him. The arrested naxalite has been ... Read more »

Pakistan-Sponsored Terror Proxies With Basic Weapons, Local Youths 'Biggest Threat' to Kashmir

© Provided by News18 Pakistan-Sponsored Terror Proxies With Basic Weapons, Local Youths ‘Biggest Threat’ to Kashmir With the killings of 11 civilians in 14 days in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-sponsored ... Read more »

Tamil Nadu: 7 men arrested while trying to sell two idols near Chennai

Seven men have been arrested while trying to sell idols of Meenakshi Amman and Rishaba Devar near Chennai. As many as seven men were arrested while trying to sell idols ... Read more »

Three New Judges, Recommended By SC Collegium, Appointed To Orissa High Court

© Provided by News18 Three New Judges, Recommended By SC Collegium, Appointed To Orissa High Court Three newly-appointed judges of the Orissa High Court on Tuesday administered the oath of ... Read more »

Former BJP leader Babul Supriyo formally quits as Asansol MP

© Provided by Hindustan Times Former BJP leader and Union minister of state Babul Supriyo had earlier declared that he will not hold on to his MP seat after quitting the ... Read more »

Dave Ramsey shares five 'proven' ways people can boost their wealth

On a video posted on The Ramsey Show – Highlights YouTube channel in 2019, Dave Ramsey ranted to his viewers that things he teaches is “proven” and “not a theory”. ... Read more »

After Steve Bannon's Virginia event, Glenn Youngkin's Trump-adjacent balancing act is wearing thin

© Provided by Salon Glenn Youngkin Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks to members of the press after casting an early ballot September 23, 2021 in Fairfax, Virginia. Youngkin is ... Read more »

Russia bans male 'extremist' group for online hate

A Russian court has banned as “extremist” a social media movement called Male State, for inciting hatred of women and gay people. © BBC The group’s founder Vladislav Pozdnyakov has ... Read more »