Chennai, March 30
The fire explosives department of Tamil Nadu is conducting inspections at factories in South Tamil Nadu in the districts of Virudhunagar, Dindigul and Tirunelveli following regular explosions causing deaths and injuries to workers.
Since the beginning of 2022, there were explosions by careless handling of fireworks killing more than seven people and injuring scores. The fire and explosives department which is the nodal agency providing licenses to factories in Tamil Nadu is conducting inspections at these factories.
Sources in the team said: "We regularly conduct inspections in these fireworks factories but even after proper guidance, most of the factory owners do not stick to the safety norms. We have warned the owners of the erring factories of stringent action, including sealing of the factories, if safety norms are not adhered to."
It is to be noted that Sivakasi which is considered the capital of the Indian fireworks industry and has a turnover of more than Rs 1,400 crore per year has many factories that have poor maintenance and several people have lost their lives in earlier accidents.
M. Sivaramakrishnan, leader of the workers in fireworks companies said: "The fire and explosives department is conducting regular inspections but there has to be strict follow-up action and the owners must be made responsible for whatever mishap that occurs in the factory premises and heavy compensation must be extracted from the owners. This would lead to more facilities for the workers including proper insurance coverage as well as bringing them under the EPF and wage board. Lot of things have to be streamlined and security of the workers is of prime importance and owners must be taken to task if some accidents happen in these factories."
However, workers are not amused and R.K. Srirangapani, a worker at a medium fireworks factory at Virudhunagar said: "In most of the cases, owners are one among us and in the fire mishap, he and even his family lose their lives. Proper insurance coverage and bringing the factories under the industrial laws is the only way out and except for a few major factories, most of the factories are run by families including Husband, wife and children."
Sources in the fire and explosives department said that they are conducting a detailed inspection and are properly noting down all the angles in the security aspect of fireworks factories to prevent any future accidents.