SRINAGAR At least 304 red category industries are operating in the ecologically fragile Jammu and Kashmir, government of India informed the parliament on Friday.
Responding to a question by National Conference parliamentarian and former high court Judge Hasnain Masoodi, Minister Of State, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo also said that no advisory to the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to refrain from giving any further consent to set up any cement factory in Khrew-Khonmoh area in Pulwama district.
As per the information provided by the J&K State Pollution Control Board,304 red category industries are operating in the State of J&K, he said.
Normally, industries falling under ‘Red’ category will not be permitted in ecologically fragile or sensitive areas. Interestingly, industries like integrated automobile manufacturing, airports and commercial air strips, and milk & dairy products are included in the ‘Red’ category.
He said The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and State Level Impact Assessment Authority of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) have accorded 93Environment Clearances to various projects in the State of Jammu and Kashmir under the provisions of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006.
The minister also responded in negative to a question on whether the Ministry proposes to have a study on the air pollution levels of Khrew-Khonmoh area having more than twenty cement factories and limestone mines.
No such study is under consideration at present.However, J&K State Pollution Control Board has constituted an expert committee to undertake a carrying capacity study of Khrew-Khonmoh area to ascertain air pollution levels. SPCB has also installed a permanent Air Quality Monitoring Station in Khrew/Khonmoh area, he said.
On whether the Ministry has conducted a study on the damage done to agriculture, horticulture and saffron cultivation in Khrew-Pampore and Khonmoh area where large number of cement factories are operational, the minister said: No such study has been conducted by the Ministry. However, during the environmental appraisal of projects, the Expert Appraisal Committee(s) ensures that necessary environmental safeguards are in place.