Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin has sent a letter to Union minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal urging him to take measures to ban the import of single-use plastic cigarette lighters.
He also called for stringent action against the illegal import of plastic cigarette lighters.
In the letter, Stalin mentioned that the matchbox industry, which was one of the major employment generators in South Tamil Nadu, was passing through a very bad phase at present. He said that the matchbox industry of South Tamil Nadu was employing around one lakh workers with women comprising a majority of these workers.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said that the matchbox industry of the state was facing stiff challenges in the export market from Pakistan and Indonesia. He said that import costs coupled with the logistics disruptions following the Covid-19 pandemic have taken a toll on the matchbox industry of Tamil Nadu.
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Stalin said that in addition to this, the domestic market is facing another major hindrance through single-use plastic cigarette lighters that are available for Rs 10 and can be a substitute for 20 matchboxes. He said that these non-refillable cigarette lighters are causing immense damage to the environment as they are made of plastics that are not environmentally friendly.
In the letter to the Union minister, which was shared with the media, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said that if the imported cigarette lighters capture the market, that would lead the traditional matchbox industry of the state to death, destroying the livelihood of lakhs of people.
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He also said that the matchbox industry was one of the major engines for the growth of the local economy in areas of the state that are devoid of agriculture.