Madras high court upholds stringent safety rules for cracker units

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 06 Desember 2013 | 07.21

CHENNAI: Flaying fire cracker unit owners for showing least concern for the poor working in the hazardous industry, the Madras high court has declined to stay or quash a circular issued by the Centre to enhance safety at these units.

Justice K K Sasidharan, concurring with the submissions of additional solicitor-general of India P Wilson and dismissing a writ petition of Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association president S S Vijayakumar, said, "Manufacturers have no concern for the life of workers or people living in and around the factories. In their attempt to manufacture fireworks on a larges cale during festival seasons, very often they ignore safety aspects and norms prescribed by the state," he said. "The manufacturers appear to have no concern for the lives of poor people. The difficulty faced by manufacturers to redesign their sheds or their decline in profit are not much of concern to the court," Justice Sasidharan added.

The matter relates to a circular issued by the explosives department on November 23, 2012, directing manufacturers to install facilities such as smooth pathway, separate sheds for semi-finished and finished crackers and trolleys with rubber lined wheel. Attributing several fire accidents to gross violation of safety norms, the circular also stipulated a 45-metre distance norm between two working sheds.

Counsel for the companies said authorities should implement only the existing licence conditions and added that there is no legal sanctity for the circular.

Justice Sasidharan, dismissing the writ petition, said the licence would be granted only for one year and the present circular merely said manufacturers must comply with new conditions at the time of renewal of licence. "The conditions incorporated in the circular should be considered as additional conditions appended to the licence already issued to manufacturers, he added.

Poor people living in and around Virudhunagar district are forced to work in cracker units, he said, adding that though the government could not provide all of them jobs, it could at least protect the interest of workers slogging in hazardous industries. "This is essentially not an issue between the manufacturers and the explosives department. This issue relates to the common man, workers and people residing in and around these factories," he said.

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