At this time of the year, Sivakasi, which accounts for about three- quarters of India’s firecracker industry, usually bustles with activity - about 1,50,000 people work round the clock to cater to the demand for Diwali.
However, this year, Sivakasi resembles a ghost town.
On Wednesday, at least 54 people were charred to death and 50 injured when a devastating blaze swept through Om Sakthi Industries at Mudalipatti, about 10 km from here.
About 1,500 units in Sivakasi and the adjoining Virudhunagar and Sattur regions are shut for four days, as government agencies are scheduled to inspect the units here.
Many say the town fell prey to the lack of regulation and poor safety measures at the industries here.
Sivakasi has seen many such accidents in the past.
According to reports, in the last 12 years, 88 accidents have claimed 237 lives.
However, the most recent tragedy was the worst in 90 years.
Image: In this Wednesday, September 5, 2012 photo, people run for cover as smoke rises from the site of a fire at a fireworks factory on the outskirts of Sivakasi.
Text: Business Standard