Ban imports of plastic lighters, save domestic matchbox industry: Tamil Nadu CM

Concerned about the future of the matchbox manufacturing industry in Tamil NaduPrime Minister MK Stalin Thursday urged the Center to immediately ban single-use Plastic cigarette lighters and safeguard the livelihoods of over a million people in the state.

These plastic lighters, imported legally and illegally from countries like China, are available for Rs 10 and can replace 20 boxes of matches. Moreover, these non-refillable lighters lead to immense plastic waste, harm the environment and also have an impact on health, he argued.

“If imported lighters continue to conquer the market, then more than a million people in Tamil Nadu engaged in this industry will lose their livelihoods,” Stalin said in a letter to the Minister of Commerce and Industry of Union, Piyush Goyal.

The matchbox manufacturing industry is a major source of employment in the southern part of Tamil Nadu. This traditional industry directly employs more than a million people and the majority of employees are women, he noted.

“The industry is a vital engine of economic growth in an arid region for agriculture. You already know that the matchbox industry generates foreign exchange earnings of around Rs 400 crore through exports,” underlined the chief minister.

At present, the industry is going through a very difficult phase facing tough challenges from Pakistan and Indonesia in the export markets. Supply chain disruptions as a result of the COVID pandemic have increased the costs and logistical difficulties associated with exports. In addition, there was a huge increase in input costs, Stalin explained.

In this context, the industry is rapidly losing its domestic market due to competition from single-use plastic lighters, which are legally and illegally imported from countries like China.

“I therefore call on you to intervene urgently in this matter and I ask you to immediately ban the import of these single-use plastic lighters and to take strict measures against illegal imports,” the CM said.


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