New Delhi: Amid complaints of rising illegal imports of fireworks from China ahead of Diwali, the government today said that possession and sale of imported fireworks is "illegal and punishable".
It has been brought to the notice of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) that fireworks of foreign origin were illegally brought into India under false declarations, the ministry said in a statement.
It said various fireworks associations have informed that these smuggled items include 'Potassium Chlorate', a dangerous and hazardous chemical which can ignite or explode spontaneously.
The Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers' Association (TANFAMA) has also informed that illegal fireworks of foreign origin have penetrated into the country in large quantities and they are likely to be sold through retail outlets extensively during coming Diwali season, it added.
"Possession and sale of fireworks of foreign origin in India is illegal and punishable under the Law. Information about possession and/or sale of such fireworks may be reported to the nearest Police Station for suitable action," the statement said.
Fireworks in India have been declared as restricted item in respect of import by Director General of Foreign Trade.
The manufacture, possession, use and sale of any explosive containing sulphur or sulphurate in admixture with any chlorate is banned in the country.
Till date, no licence for import of fireworks has been granted under the Explosives Rules, 2008 by Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organisation, a subordinate office of the DIPP.
In August, TANFAMA has alleged that fireworks from China worth Rs 600 crore had already been imported and hoarded in North Indian states.
It said that imports may affect job prospects of 10 lakh workers employed in fireworks units in India.
According to reports, Sivakasi, the manufacturing hub of India?s fireworks industry, has reported a 35 per cent decline in sales this year due to smuggling of fireworks from China.