Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, Apr 15 UNI | 3 months ago

Normal life was affected in Sivakasi - the fireworks hub of India--due to a 24-hour bandh call given by Tamil Nadu fireworks and amorces manufacturers' association (TANFAMA) and various industries, including the matchbox, printing and traders to protest against the import of crackers from China and steep hike in licence fees of cracker factories.

All shops, business establishments, markets downed their shutters while private buses, lorries, auto rickshaws and mini buses were off the road in Sivakasi and its adjoining villages of Thiruthangal, Naranapuram, Vembakottai and Thayilpatti.

Government buses were not allowed to ply through Sivakasi. At least 13 trade bodies in Sivakasi pledged their support to the strike.

There was also spontaneous support from the locals and local organisations for the bandh.

A large number of traders, fireworks factories workers and office bearers of TANFAMA were also observing a day's hunger strike, here demanding the Centre's ban import of China crackers which, they allege, would severely hit the local cracker industry.

MDMK general secretary and party's Virudhunagar Lok Sabha candidate Vaiko met the fasting people and expressed his support to them.

All the licensed fireworks factories and cracker transporters in and around Sivakasi region were observing an indefinite strike since April five last demanding the Centre withdraw a notification issued by the director of department of industrial policy and promotion hiking various fees, including license fee ranging from five times to 27 times, which allegedly aimed at encouraging import of Chinese crackers.

Due to the indefinite closure of fireworks factories, five lakh workers were rendered jobless.

(Posted on 15-04-2014)