Tribune News Service
Jammu, November 6
After reports of alleged violation of environment norms by more than 100 brick kilns in Jammu district, the district administration has decided to tighten the noose by setting up the District Expert Appraisal Committee (DEAC) and the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) for processing and granting environmental clearance to all activities associated with quarrying and excavation of minor minerals.
The environmental clearance by the DEIAA is now mandatory for renewal of brick kiln licences.
Sources said the initiative to constitute the two bodies was taken by the Jammu district administration after getting directions from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to issue and renew licences of brick kilns. They further said that the Union Ministry had expressed concern over lack of concrete measures to curb the ongoing practice.
The DEIAA has been constituted under the chairmanship of the District Magistrate, Jammu, while the Additional District Magistrate (Law and Order) will be its Member Secretary.
Under the new process, the environmental clearance will be accorded by the DEIAA within 45 days of receipt of recommendations from the DEAC which has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Superintending Engineer, Flood Control and Irrigation Department.
The District Mining Officer is the Member Secretary of the DEAC and the panel will meet at least once a month.
Sources said that now on, it would be mandatory for all brick kiln licence holders to seek renewal of their licences in terms of both the Jammu and Kashmir Brick Kilns (Regulation) Act and the DEIAA.
“The brick kilns, whether they are operating in Jammu or in Kashmir, not many of them are following the guidelines of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB). There are more than 650 kilns across J&K which are mostly established on the agricultural land, another blatant violation of norms,” an official claimed.
“Due to involvement of huge finance in the business, the SPCB guidelines are taken for granted by the brick kiln owners. Had the SPCB and other authorities concerned taken some strict measures earlier, the situation could have improved to some extent,” the official maintained.
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