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Posted at: Nov 28, 2018, 1:12 AM; last updated: Nov 28, 2018, 1:12 AM (IST)

War of words erupts among brick-kiln owners in state

A section wants kilns to stay shut till February, others against it
War of words erupts among brick-kiln owners in state
Of 280 kilns in Ludhiana district, none are operational. File Photo

Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, November 27

Brick-kiln owners in the state were a divided lot regarding operational timeline. A section of owners believe that brick-kilns should get operational from February 1 as per the guidelines of the Punjab Pollution Control Board while the other section says that as the owners have installed and adopted new technology, brick kilns should stay operational.

The second section alleged that “brick-mafia” has been trying to create scarcity of bricks so that these could be stocked and sold later at exorbitant rates.

While talking to The Tribune, Inderpal Singh Walia, general secretary, Punjab Bhatta Malik Association, said as per the latest instructions by the state government, brick-kilns can operate and there was no need to wait till February 1, 2019.

“We have asked the government to give us two years to install the latest zig-zag technology and till then we should be allowed to operate. As the government allowed us, a few kiln owners with vested interests moved to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for getting a stay. These brick-kiln owners want to create scarcity in the market,” said Walia.

He also alleged these people have gathered funds and were allegedly bribing officials so that work does not starts at kilns.

“We do not suffer loss if we are not firing our bricks (moulded bricks). If the government wants that all kilns should stop operations, we must adhere to it. Either everyone should be allowed to start with zig-zag kilns or no one should be allowed to operate till February 1, 2019,” said Sarabjit Dhillon, a brick kiln owner.

Another brick-kiln owner on condition of anonymity said some politically linked people wanted to operate the kilns and have been urging others to operate thus giving two hoots to the NGT’s instructions.

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