|Dismantle illegal stone crushers, HMPs, Brick-kilns, ors or face consequences: Harsh|
|Early Times Report|
Jammu, Nov 13: Disconcerted over the open defiance of laws and prescribed guidelines, by the rich and powerful, in running illegal brick kilns, stone crushers, hot mix plants, pesticide and chemical units in the state and Jammu in particular, scores of Panther activists spearheaded by Harsh Dev Singh Chairman JKNPP and Yash Paul Kundal State President Young Panthers staged a vociferous protest demonstration outside the office of J&K State Pollution Control Board (JKSPCB) at Narwal in Jammu.
The agitated protestors accused the board for allowing hundreds of such units to operate in violation of the directives of Supreme Court and National Green tribunal (NGT) which was squarely responsible for causing environmental pollution and bio-degradation posing grave threat to human lives.
Lambasting the Pollution Control Board for sheltering the Ministers, MLAs and MPs and rich people who owned such units, to run them in violation of the norms and prescribed procedures, Harsh Dev Singh appealed the Governor to personally intervene to bust the pollution mafia operational in the state. He said that there were hundreds of brick-kilns, stone crushers, hot mix plants, pesticide and chemical industries operating in the state without fulfilling the pre-requisites laid down by the Ministry of environment and Ministry of Mines, GoI in pursuance of the Supreme Court directions.
He said that several such units in Kathua, Samba, Jammu and Udhampur were owned and operated by politicians who abused their position and authority to run these illegal plants in circumvention of laws besides clear directives of National Green Tribunal, Supreme Court and High Court."Two illegal stone crushers adjacent to each other were installed by a Member Parliament in Krishanpur-Manwal without requisite NOCs and despite huge public outrage in this locality with authorities concerned shutting their eyes to the grave irregularity", regretted Harsh.
He said that likewise one dismissed employee of J&K Govt was running several illegal stone crushers, hot mix plants besides illegal extraction of minerals with none to take cognizance. Rebuking the SPCB for allowing such units to operate with impunity by abdicating its responsibility due to vested interests, he said that several illegal stone crushers were being allowed to run in collusion with corrupt officers and govt. functionaries. He further regretted that apart from SPCB, the other concerned departments including Geology and Mining, Forests, I&FC and Districts administration concerned had failed to book the delinquents due to political patronage enjoyed by them.
Coming down heavily on the pesticides and chemical industries causing air and water pollution, he sought their immediate disbanding in the light of recommendations made by SC and NGT. He regretted that toxic pesticides units continue to be allowed to operate in J&K especially Jammu region despite their highly hazardous effects including nausea, nervous and respiratory, problems, paralysis, reproduction problems, environmental toxicity, chest discomforts, skin ailments, cancer etc. He said that not only were they being allowed to operate by violating all guidelines but were granted several concessions by the state govt. including interest subsidy, CIS, tax exemptions etc. Citing example of Basantar River in Samba which has literally dried up and lost its aqua-life due to hazardous waste disposal from pesticide units, he said that not a single officer of the Pollution control, Health or Agriculture had ever taken any action against any such unit for violation of Food Safety Act, Insecticides Act or under various Environmental Laws.