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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin requested the CMs of Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Odisha to lift the ban on the sale of firecracker and instead allow the sale of green crackers.

In a letter to the chief ministers of these states, he requested them to lift the ban and allow the sale of firecrackers that falls within the norms set by the Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal.

Earlier in July, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea challenging the National Green Tribunal's order for the imposition of a complete ban on the sale and use of all firecrackers during the COVID-19 pandemic in cities, said that no further clarification or deliberation was required.

Supreme Court said that the authorities may permit the sale and use of firecrackers as per the category of Air Quality Index (AQI) in the cities.

The Bench said that manufacturing or production of firecrackers was allowed and those who wanted to use firecrackers could do so with permission depending upon the category of AQI. It clarified that the ban is in places where air quality is poor and there is no ban on the manufacture.

In the letter Stalin pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had a crippling effect on the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in the country and its impact on Tamil Nadu's economy, which is largely dependent on MSMEs for growth and employment, has been significantly severe. 

"My government is now in the process of reviving the sector through focussed interventions. The firecracker industry, concentrated around the town of Sivakasi, is one of the most important industrial activities in the state," he explained. 

Around eight lakh workers depend on the state's firecracker industry for their livelihood, which is the largest in our country, he pointed out. Stating that the ban imposed by the four Indian states on the sale of firecrackers during this Diwali festival was brought to his attention, the Chief minister said "I understand that you have taken this decision based on concerns regarding air pollution." 

"I wish to draw your attention to the fact that the Supreme Court has already banned certain categories of polluting firecrackers and now, green crackers with significantly less emissions are being manufactured. Therefore, a blanket ban on firecrackers is not reasonable. Such a ban is not prevalent in other countries," Stalin said. 

Moreover, such a ban if imposed by other states also, would lead to the closure of the entire industry, jeopardising the livelihood of about eight lakh people. "You would also appreciate that bursting of firecrackers is an integral part of Indian festivals, especially Diwali. A balanced approach that gives due regard to environment, livelihood and public health is possible and necessary," the Chief Minister said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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