SRINAGAR The Jammu and Kashmir High Court today ordered Deputy Commissioner Kupwara to close down all quarry units along Mawar Nallah in Handwara area of the north Kashmir.
Hearing Public Interest Litigation with regard to closure and stopping of illegal stone quarrying in Forest demarcated areas and on state land, a division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Sanjeev Kumar directed the deputy commissioner to visit on spot and find out as to whether any quarry unit is in operation illegally and close down the same. He has been asked to submit report before court.
The directions by the court followed perusal of a report submitted by Brij Mohan Sharma, presently posted as Member Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir State Pollution Control Board. The SPCB member has in his report submitted that a committee was constituted by the Board 14 October 2017 and the committee carried out the spot inspection to ascertain the ground position as directed by the Cour.
The committee, he said, submitted its report, highlighting report regarding number of Stone Crushers in Shanoo Langate , Number of Hot Mix Plants and Number of wet Mix Plants.
Out of four stone crushers, only one M/s Rash Builders was operational while as all Hot Mix Plants were non operational, the report said.
It may be in place to mention that all the remaining three stone crushers are under standing orders for closure from the Board.
He submitted that the stone crusher of M/s Rash Builders , which was operational at the time of inspection was found operational with pollution control devices/ measures. However, deficiency of wind breaking wall and covering of screen chamber was found and on spot direction was issued for rectification of deficiencies, he said.
A fresh status report was sought from the field officers of the Board and it has been reported that the stone crusher of M/s Rash Builders has rectified the deficiencies noticed during previous inspection. However, green belt needs to be enhanced. It has also been reported that stone crushers namely M/s Imperial Stone Crusher, G.K Stone Crusher and Fairdeal Stone Crusher were operational despite standing orders of closure from the Board and none of the above units had adequate pollution control devices/measures in place, the report said.
All the Hot Mix Plants, he said, need to enhance the green belt around the units extraction and if permitted by the Department beyond 2 KMs upstream and downstream, shall be allowed and mechanical extraction through machines needs to be totally prohibited.
The Concerned Departments viz Irrigation and Flood Control, Geology and Mining and Competent Authority under J & K Water Resource (Regulation & Management) Act, should take conservation and rehabilitation measures for protection of Mawar Nallah, which may include protection of banks to avoid change of the course of the Mawar Nallah.
The Board shall carry out ambient air quality monitoring during April to June, 2019 when all the units are in operation and also monitor the waterquality in 2KM upstream and downstream of Mawar Nallah during above said period when the Nallah is in full flow.
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