An “alert circular” to maintain strict vigil against illegal imports of Chinese crackers has already been sent by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to Chief Commissioners of Customs and related departments, Tamil Nadu government informed Madras High Court today. The state government also said the results of such illegal imports and enhanced vigil had been brought to the notice of the DRI.

Additional Advocate General P H Arvind Pandiyan stated this in response to an order by Justice N Kirubakaran on appointing squads to check menace of import of such crackers. He said heads of departments, including DRI, had submitted the copy of instructions issued to subordinate officers.

The State Home Secretary submitted that a meeting was held with all top officials concerned on October 20 and they were all directed to furnish a compliance report before this day. The Commissioner of Police, Chennai said four squads in

Greater Chennai City, comprising Police Department, Fire and Rescue Services Department, Revenue Department and Municipal Administration Department, had been formed to prevent distribution and sale of Chinese crackers. The Chennai Corporation Commissioner said four squads had also been formed for North, South, East and West regions in the city, comprising an officer in rank of Inspector, Tahsildar, Station Fire Officer, Assistant Revenue officer for the purpose.

AAG Pandiyan said each district has a total of 36 squads comprising the above officials had been formed throughout the state. Virudhungar district, the hub of the fireworks industry, has two squads, while Chennai has four. To a query on who would control illegal transport of crackers, the AAG requested for a direction to Centre to have look on into the integrated check-posts and entry points.

The Judge observed there are three ways for illegal entry of these imported crackers into India, one from Nepal and the oher two are by air and through sea. Imports will affect the tiny and cottage industries in Sivakasi region and hence it has become indispensable to take steps to prevent the import of crackers, he said.

Stressing the need for a coordinated check by departments, he directed the AAG to submit a report on action taken on sale of Chinese crackers, to which the AAG replied that he will submit it on the next date of hearing as he has to get inputs from various departments.

The Judge then posted the matter for further hearing to Friday.