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Matchbox Makers Seek Ban on Imported Lighters to Save Industry

Updated: May 28, 2024 05:10:50pm

Matchbox Makers Seek Ban on Imported Lighters to Save Industry

Tamil Nadu, May 28 (KNN) Matchbox manufacturers in Tamil Nadu have appealed to the state government to ban the sale of imported Chinese cigar lighters to save their industry which employs over 2 lakh workers.

The 700 matchbox units in Kovilpatti, Sattur, Tenkasi and other areas produce 9 crore matchboxes daily, providing direct livelihood to 2 lakh workers, mostly women.

However, smuggled Chinese lighters being sold for as little as Rs 10 are threatening to virtually kill this domestic industry.

M. Paramasivam, president of the National Small Match Manufacturers Association in Kovilpatti, said despite a ban by the central government on cheap imported lighters costing below Rs 20, Chinese lighters are still flooding the market via smuggling routes from Nepal without paying taxes.

He alleged these smugglers from Gujarat are causing an annual loss of over Rs 12,000 crore to the government exchequer through tax evasion.

While some seizures worth over Rs 100 crore have occurred, action against the smugglers has been inadequate.

With the centre failing to crack down effectively, the manufacturers went on strike from April 13.

They have now petitioned the state industries minister T.R.B. Rajaa seeking a complete ban on stocking and selling imported plastic lighters in Tamil Nadu, similar to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The minister has assured to take steps to address their plea to protect the Rs 600 crore foreign exchange earning matchbox industry that meets 80 per cent of the domestic demand.

(KNN Bureau)


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