Sivakasi: Images of the recent accident in Sivakasi are still fresh. But locals here seem to have resigned themselves to a fate of playing with fire. Rajeshwari lost here husband and son in a similar accident three years ago. Her elder son still works at one of the fireworks factories and has no choice.
Rajeshwari says, "It's a necessity to do the job. He didn't know anything else but this. So he had no option but to go for this job even though it's risky."
Many of these workers are employed on contract basis with no benefits. While the Centre and State governments were quick to order multiple probes and factory officials were arrested, the fact remains fireworks factories in this city remain ticking time bombs thanks to unscrupulous owners and sheer government apathy are rife. So who is really to blame?
Sivakashi produces 98 per cent of fireworks sold in the country.
But at the Sivakashi office of the Petrol and Explosives Safety Organisation which is supposed to monitor fireworks factories, there are just four officers. Just four officers to monitor 700 factories operating here.
Despite a letter from the PESO chief to the Commerce Ministry in 2010, no steps have been taken to strengthen the agency.
Chief Controller of Explosives TR Thomas said, "A request to strengthen the department has already been given to the ministry. We have given them our requirement not only for Sivakasi but also for other areas where we are having the same problem."
After the disastrous blaze that scarred Sivakasi blaze once again, almost all the firework factories in and around here have completely shut down. But locals here say that next week onwatds it'll be back to living life on the edge. Unless a proper effective surveillance system is put into place that is specific to the needs of the people of this cracker hub, more poor people will continue to play with lives.