Around 30 members of the VCK were arrested today for staging a rail roko here in support of the ongoing stir launched by the fireworks units demanding exemption of their produce from the ambit of the Environment Protection Act. The activists of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) blocked the Madurai-Shencottah train for more than half an hour, police said. The agitators sought the state government to help the fireworks manufacturing units in and around this town, national hub for fireworks, resume work. A large posse of police personnel has been deployed after the VCK announced its support for the nearly 860 units, which had remained indefinitely closed since December 26 over their charter of demands. The fast launched by nearly 4,000 workers engaged in the fireworks units in and around this town continued for the second day today. Their other demands include early hearing of a case in the Supreme Court related to nationwide ban on sale, possession and bursting of crackers to prevent air pollution. The striking workers had urged the central government to make a small amendment to the Act, just as they did to allow jallikattu (bull-taming sport). Meanwhile, sources in the industry said business worth Rs 250 crore has been affected due to the 13-day-long strike. Local traders and autorickshaw operators have also extended their support for the fireworks industry. The apex court had on October 9 last year, said no firecrackers would be sold in the Delhi-NCR during Diwali that year while banning its sale till November 1.
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