Srinagar: The J&K High Court has granted the government two more weeks to file its reply to a Public Interest Litigation alleging administration’s failure in keeping a check on pollution caused by the cement factories in Wuyan and Khrew areas of Pampore.
The time was granted by a division bench of justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and B S Walia following a submission by counsel for the government.
Advocate Mohammad Ashraf Wani, representing the PIL petitioners, said that the court also directed the state’s Pollution Control Board to file a report about the toxins emanating from the cement factories.
The PIL has been filed by seven residents of Khrew, raising a number of issues concerning people.
“Entire Khrew is under a huge burden of industrial pollution and the activities undertaken by manufacturing of cement in querying of lime stone and the burning of fuel is dangerous,” the petitioners say.
The cement manufacturing process, the petitioners have said, is responsible for causing air and water pollution that results in great ecological imbalance.
“The carrying capacity of the air of SPM (Suspended Particulate Matter) has crossed the threshold point, resulting in great threat to the lives of people as well as to flora and fauna of the area,” they said, adding, that the pollutants from the cement plants are spreading as a “slow poison” in the area.
“The state government has reportedly given clean chit to commissioning of another cement plant having 600 MTs capacity namely Mehboob Cement Project,” they said and have demanded government to stop the new plant from commissioning it.
Wuyun and Khrew are famous for saffron cultivation. The government of India and the state have started project Saffron Mission by investing huge money to encourage the cultivation of the expensive crop.
The areas have Dachigam National Park, the last bastion for critically-endangered Hangul (Kashmir Stag), in its vicinity.
“It is paradoxical that in the same areas the cement plants are being commissioned without any check which is illogical and self destruction of economy,” they said, claiming that the environment Ministry was showing no concern about the human population.
The petitioners also seek direction to the state to conduct a detailed survey on environmental impact assessment (EIA) due to the pollution.
“The cement plants owned by the government and other private persons should be directed to adhere to the safety measures as undertaken by them when NOCs are issued. Registration of those violating the norms and other safety measures should be cancelled.”
They also seek directions to pay compensation to the people for causing pollution to be utilised for repairing the loss caused to the environment under the principles of Polluters Pay Principle (PPP) and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Lastly, the petitioners seek directions to chief medical officer concerned to conduct survey about the diseases caused by the pollution to the locals.