Nearly 4,000 workers of about 860 fireworks units in and around this town today intensified their stir by observing fast over their demand of exemption of fireworks from the ambit of the Environment Protection Act. The units had remained indefinitely closed since December 26 over their demands which also includes early hearing of a case in the Supreme Court related to nationwide ban on sale, possession and bursting of crackers to prevent air pollution. Addressing the agitators today, the manufacturers said they wanted to familiarise the Centre with their plight. Due to the Supreme Court case, traders have not been placing orders and paying advance, which used to help the fireworks units as working capital. There is no possibility that the case would be heard in immediate future and the only option open is to exempt the industry from the Environment Protection Act, they said. The striking workers urged the central government to make a small amendment in the Act, just as they did to allow jallikattu (bull-taming). 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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