The Rs 6,000-crore fireworks industry of Sivakasi, which has turned mainly into green crackers, is now planning to tap the international firecracker industry hitherto dominated by Chinese players. While China has a huge global footprint in the export market of fireworks with an annual turnover of Rs 26,000 crore, the Sivakasi industry is trying to get a small fraction of the business.
The constitution of the CSIR-NEERI lab at Sivakasi at a cost of Rs 15 crore has helped the testing of emission level of the green firecrackers being manufactured in the Virudhunagar district helping the industry fall under the green cracker norms.
It may be noted that earlier the firecracker industry of Sivakasi had to send the samples to Nagpur which is time-consuming. The CSIR-NEERI laboratory in Sivakasi is producing an additive that has to be mixed with the firecrackers so that the dust pollution is reduced by a minimum of 30 per cent.
While speaking to IANS, President of Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturing Association (TANFAMA), P. Ganeshan, who is also the owner of Sony fireworks said, “The industry has done good business during this year but the worst year was 2020 with Covid-19 at its peak. Except for Delhi-NCR, no other state governments had banned the use of firecrackers during this season and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had taken up the issue with the Delhi CM.”
He also said that the industry is looking for the international market and with the industry shifting to green crackers, there has been an added interest in the global arena.
S. Maheswaran of Standard Fireworks, a leading firecracker brand in Sivakasi while speaking to IANS said, “The American and European markets are looking at us like the industry used to look at China 20 years ago.”
With green crackers becoming the norm, the industry has now gained the expertise and finesse to supply to international markets. However, one issue plaguing the industry is the issue of shipping lines that don’t cater to small consignments from India at the expense of huge volumes being supplied by Chinese players. However, industry is expecting interference from the Government of India for this.
The fireworks industry in Sivakasi has a turnover of Rs 6,000 crore and around 8 lakh people are employed by the industry. The Sivakasi and Virudhunagar fireworks owners are expecting a fair share of the Chinese global firecracker market so that it would provide job opportunities to a larger number of people as even after mechanization, manpower is still a vital part of the industry.