Pollution control board to crack whip on brick kilns

JAMMU: With widespread reports of violation of rules by brick kilns in Jammu, the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has ordered a survey of units who continue to flout norms though installation of pollution control devices have been made mandatory by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Sumit Hakhoo

Jammu, November 27

With widespread reports of violation of rules by brick kilns in Jammu, the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has ordered a survey of units who continue to flout norms though installation of pollution control devices have been made mandatory by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Officials said following the directives, a majority of the 130 kilns in Jammu had installed monitoring devices but for the past several months devices were not working at several units.

“Tough norms have somewhat curbed the illegal functioning of units, many continue to defy the rules which is a matter of concern. We have direct orders from the government to act against such units,” said a senior scientist in the SPCB.

Due to decades of neglect, 377 kilns were built on agricultural land in the state for which the permission has been given by the district authorities during the last two decades.

Regional Director Showkat Chowdhary said whenever they would find any violation prompt action would be taken. “We are continuing monitoring the functioning of the kilns and under the norms set by the government unit holders have to comply with the rules,” said Chowdhary.

Though an important part of the construction sector, brick kilns contribute a huge amount of soot and dust to the environment which impact the nearby vegetation and health of the people.

“Brick kilns falls under the red classification and represents highly polluting industries, which warrants close and consistent monitoring,” said Bushan Parimoo, an environmentalist.

A sub-committee constituted by the Legislative Assembly during the previous government had directed the authorities to submit a detailed report on the impact of kilns on the local population and agriculture land so that action could be taken. However, no foolproof action has been taken in this regard.

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