Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Thursday requested his counterparts in Rajasthan and Odisha to reconsider their governments’ decision to ban the sale and bursting of crackers during Diwali.

Palaniswami in a letter to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said: “There is no empirical or validated data to demonstrate that the bursting of crackers has any effect on COVID patients.”

Palaniswami pointed out that Diwali festival is celebrated across the country by the public by bursting crackers as part of their cultural ethos.

He said considering the direct and indirect employment involved in the manufacturing of crackers, as well as to safeguard the traditional and cultural way of celebrating the Diwali festival, the apex court in its order of October 2018 directed all the states “to encourage bursting of crackers in public places for a limited period of 2 hours on the day of Diwali”.

“I would like to inform you that in Tamil Nadu, in tune with the Supreme Court directions, we have restricted the bursting of green crackers to 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening,” Palaniswami said.

He added that cracker manufacturers are using raw materials with reduced emission levels and low decibel.

Tamil Nadu contributes to about 90 per cent of total manufacture of firecrackers in the country, providing direct employment to around four lakh people and indirect employment to another four lakh.

“The ban on bursting crackers in your states can have a direct bearing on the livelihood of over 8 lakh workers in the state of Tamil Nadu and another equal number of people engaged in its sale,” Palaniswami said.

“I would like to bring to your kind notice that Tamil Nadu state produces mainly green crackers and therefore the question of environmental pollution does not arise,” Palaniswami added.