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February 24, 2018
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Fireworks industry withdraws indefinite closureWithdrawal follows the assurance given by Minister for Dairy Development, K.T. Rajenthra Bhalaji, that the State government would stand by the industry

After 25 days off indefinite closure, the Fireworks industry on Friday midnight announced the withdrawal of their protest and their decision to resume work on Monday.

The withdrawal comes following the assurance given by Minister for Dairy Development, K.T. Rajenthra Bhalaji, that the State government would stand by the Fireworks industry.

Mr. Bhalaji held talks with representatives of the industry for more than two hours.

The industry representatives had met Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami in Chennai on Friday.

The Chief Minister had promised to take up the “air pollution” issue against the industry with the Union government and put pressure on the Centre in getting exemption for the Fireworks industry from the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.

The State government had helped the Fireworks industry to bring down the GST rate from 28% to 18%, Mr. Bhalaji said. The government would continue to support the industry on the present crisis also, he added.

Over 840 cracker units in and around Sivakasi began an indefinite closure on December 26 seeking early disposal of a public interest litigation filed before the Supreme Court seeking a nationwide ban on manufacture, sale and use of firecrackers alleging air pollution.

“I explained to the manufacturers that the 8 lakh cracker industry workers and their families were suffering due to the indefinite closure”, Mr. Bhalaji said.

The Chief Minister has promised to send few State Ministers to meet the Union Ministers and impress upon the Centre on the need to exempt cracker industry from the provisions of Environment (Protection) Rules as a permanent solution for frequent allegations of air pollution caused by crackers, the Minister said.

Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers secretary K.Mariappan said the decision to resume work was taken in the interest of the 8 lakh workers and their families. Besides, the Chief Minister has assured that the ruling party MPs would raise the pollution issue in the parliament and get a favourable solution for the Fireworks industry, he added.