Barely after over 10 days the authorities sealed stone crushing units and macadam plants at Nallah Mawar in Handwara allegedly for violating environmental laws, the locals on Thursday told a local news agency, KNS, that two among the sealed crushers and macadam plants were clandestinely made operational.
The local told KNS that one stone crusher and a macadam plant was made functional immediately after they were sealed by the authorities last month.
According to KNS, more than six stone crushers and macadam plants are operating in the area that has affected the nearby river streams and agricultural lands.
After the resentment from the locals about the presence of stone crushers in the area, the environment committee of the state legislative assembly recently visited the area under the chairmanship of MY Tarigami the CPI-M state secretary.
The seven member team assessed the ground situation and held various discussions with the locals of the area about matter. MLA Langate engineer Rashid while thanking the committee for the visit and asked the committee to do justice with the inhabitants of the area.
Tarigami while talking to KNS said that the he is going to submit the report about his visit and would emphasize that no such move will be allowed that undermines the values of clean and green environment.
When contacted Deputy Commissioner Itrat Hussain Rafiquee, told KNS, “I will inquire about the matter. After I sealed these crushers and macadam plants, I had passed directions to SP Kupwara and the Tehsildar concerned to implement the orders strictly.”
Last year in September, while taking note of environmental degradation and pollution caused by unauthorized stone crushers and macadam plants operating along the banks of many fresh water streams, particularly in Handwara and Kupwara areas of north Kashmir, the high court had directed the state Chief Secretary to file a comprehensive report in this regard.
The court had also observed that the operation these stone crushers and macadam mixing plants is needed to be regulated to save the ecology, environment and to ensure sustainable development.
These directions had come following a hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL 794/2009) filed by Handwara villagers in 2009 by a Division Bench of the high court this week. The PIL called for closing down all the unauthorized stone crushers and macadam plants to save the fragile ecosystem of Mawar fresh water and other streams in north Kashmir.