Chinese crackers, a stealthy and dangerous import

Published on : September 25, 2017 Topic : Import

Banned products make an appearance in Sivakasi

Till the summer of 2014, Chinese crackers were only heard of in Sivakasi. But in May 2014, the industry was shocked to see Chinese crackers being sold in its very backyard when a team of officials seized a bunch of Chinese firecrackers from a cracker shop in the town.

The town police did due diligence and registered a case, but the fireworks industry was not satisfied. They raised the decibel level on this issue, seeking a CBI probe into the case.

The Centre acted swiftly and took effective steps to curb Chinese crackers being stealthily imported in the guise of toys. In the last two years, the threat seemed to abate. However, the industry was jolted again recently when they found Chinese fireworks being marketed bang in the heart of the fireworks hub of the country — on the streets of Sivakasi.

“We found a representative, also an agent for Sivakasi fireworks for north India, marketing some Chinese crackers in our town,” said K. Mariappan, secretary of Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association. The man from Gwalior had been carrying samples of three different crackers.

Exhibiting the samples, Mr. Mariappan said one of the boxes had the “Made in India” label, intended to mislead the public, though the crackers inside the box were certainly made in China. He wanted the government officials to check the sales of such banned crackers during the festival of light.

Packaging rules

Any cracker manufactured by a fireworks unit licensed by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) should have a proper label approved by the PESO “This includes details like the name of the company, license number and location. The composition of the chemicals would also be printed on the label,” Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, Sivakasi, K. Sundaresan said.

People can look for such details to ascertain whether the crackers they are buying were made in India, not imported from China, he said.

However, those units licensed by District Revenue Officers do not contain these kinds of detailed labels, he added. “There is always a chance for Chinese crackers to get a duplicate label without much details. While a common man cannot distinguish it, officials are conducting raids to ensure that no Chinese fireworks are illegally sold,” Mr. Sundaresan said.

People can at least avoid those crackers with labels bearing pictures of Chinese people or letters of the Chinese alphabet. Similarly, those crackers without any label could also be avoided.

Harmful chemicals

Chinese crackers are illegal and not permitted under the Explosives Rules 2008. “This is because Chinese fireworks contain certain chemicals banned by India, like chlorate, red lead, copper oxide and lithium,” Mr. Sundaresan said. These chemicals are highly inimical to the environment and also dangerous. “These crackers are friction and impact sensitive and could harm the users, especially children,” he added.

Explosives Rules 2008, Rule 15

“Marking on fireworks: In case of fireworks, explosive composition, quantity of such composition, whether sound emitting crackers or colour or light emitting crackers, sound level, a caution or warning indicating the name of the item, manufacturer’s name, method of firing, precautions to be taken both in words and pictorial view shall be printed on each piece of fireworks and cardboard box and where adequate space is not available on the fireworks, such caution or warning shall be printed on a separate label and inserted in the smallest packet or carton.”

Source: The Hindu
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