TOPIC – Safety at all costsThe death of four workers on New Year’s Day in a blast at a fireworks unit in Kalathur village of Virudhunagar district, the hub of the firecrackers sector in Tamil Nadu, reiterates the need for relentless vigil to enforce safety protocols in an industry that deals with hazardous processes. The blast was said to have been triggered by friction caused by the mishandling of chemicals. Apparently, the workers had come to the unit for a pooja to usher in 2022. Even though the authorities have suspended the unit’s license and filed cases under the Indian Penal Code and Indian Explosive Substances Act, they have not cited violations such as the license holder leasing out the unit to others and manufacturing products unauthorized. Over the years, the district has seen numerous blasts and successive State Governments had formed, at times, committees to study the factors that led to the blasts. There have been improvements in the way the firecracker industry has been functioning. For example, the extent of child labor has reduced considerably. But, with regard to adherence to and monitoring of safety protocols, the track record leaves much to be desired. There has to be a paradigm shift in the manner an event such as the Kalathur blast is viewed. Generally, any blast is called an accident but such usage unwittingly tends to gloss over the role of those who are responsible for the implementation and the enforcement of safety protocols. There can be no compromise on this count. At the same time, the contribution of the firecracker industry to the country’s economy, especially that of Tamil Nadu, has to be acknowledged. The sector employs eight lakh people, directly and indirectly, in a backward region of the State with no assured irrigation. However, this does not absolve the industry of the responsibility to the life and the health of workers and the larger sections of society. In any investigation of the event, the authorities concerned should seriously consider translating into action some of the suggestions made by an eight-member committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal after a blast in the district that killed over 20 people in February 2021. Headed by former judge of the Punjab and Haryana, and Madras High Courts K. Kannan, the panel had suggested that the Explosives Act be amended to make punishments more stringent than now, employing only certified persons for operations including mixing, filling of chemicals and the making of colour pellets, and using drones for surveillance of various units. There is no dearth of ideas to improve the working of the industry but what is required is that the authorities, both at the levels of Central and State Governments, should ensure the enforcement of safety protocols.


The Hindu Editorial Words with meanings, synonyms, and antonyms 


Relentless (adjective) – Unceasingly intense

Synonyms – Peevish, obdurate, mulish, pertinacious, stubborn

Antonyms – Pliable, complaisant, impotent, slackening, pliant


Numerous (adjective) – Great in number

Synonyms – Legion, beaucoup, myriad, multifarious, manifold

Antonyms – Miniature, deficient, uniform, similar, occasional


Adherence (noun) – Attachment or commitment to a person, cause, or belief

Synonyms – Cohesion, fidelity, obedience, attachment, constancy

Antonyms – Dereliction, infraction, trespass, contravention, flouting


Unwittingly (adverb) – Without being aware

Synonyms – Capriciously, desultorily, whimsically, fitfully, spottily

Antonyms – Gingerly, meticulously, intentionally, punctiliously, formally


Compromise (noun) – The expedient acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable

Synonyms – Haggle, accord, mediation, treaty, consensus

Antonyms –Controversy, bickering, disputation, abstaining, animosity


Absolve (verb) – Declare (someone) free from guilt, obligation, or punishment

Synonyms – Exculpate, vindicate, condone, avenge, exonerate

Antonyms – Arraign, impeach, indict, convict, incriminate


 Amended (verb) – To make better

Synonyms –Meliorated, rehabbed, revamped, beefed, honed

Antonyms –Tarnished, flawed, vitiated, blemished, marred


Stringent (adjective) – Not allowing for any exceptions or loosening of standards

Synonyms –Rigorous, adamant, unflinching, austere, grim

Antonyms –Indulgent, pampering, sloppy, lenient, pliant


Dearth (noun) – A scarcity or lack of something

Synonyms –Lacuna, paucity, scantiness, skimpiness, meagerness

Antonyms –Plentitude, opulence, surfeit, copiousness, adequacy