Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday directed Additional Deputy Commissioner Handwara to visit Shangoo Langate area of Handwara to verify whether any illegal quarry unit is in operation, if so the court directed the officer to close it down and report the same to court.
Hearing Public Interest Litigation regarding closure and stopping of illegal stone quarrying in Forest demarcated areas and on state land, the division bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjeev Kumar Wednesday directed the Additional Deputy commissioner Handwara to visit on spot and find out as to whether any quarry unit is in operation and close down the same and report the court.
The direction was passed after State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) presented a report before court stating therein that a committee constituted by Board carried out on spot inspection to ascertain the ground position whether any illegal quarry is operational in Handwara.
During the inspection, the report states that in Shangoo Langate area of Handwara there are four Stone crushers, three hot mix plants and one wet mix plant. Out of the four stone crushers, only one stone crusher namely M/S Rash Builders was operational while as all Hot Mix Plants were non-operational.
The M/S Rash Builders which was operational at the time of inspection was found having deficiency of wind breaking wall and covering of screen chamber. The quarry unit was on spot directed to rectify deficiency.
“After this, a fresh status was sought from on field officers of the Board and it was reported that M/S Rash Builders has rectified deficiencies. However green belt needs to be enhanced.It has also been reported by on field officers 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 have pollution controlling devices/measures in place,” the report states.
It was further stated in the report that the SPCB strongly recommends that all the units in the area must get their respective premises of their units demarcated and fenced to avoid any encroachment towards Nallah Mawar.
It is also recommended by the board that no extraction of the raw material from Nallah Mawar be allowed in 2km upstream and downstream and only manual extraction if permitted should not be beyond 2 kms upstream and downstream. Further report says that departments of Irrigation and Flood Control, Geology& Mining and competent authority under J&K Water Resources 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 Nallah.
After going through the report, the court remarked that there is need to protect environment and illegal stone quarrying will not be allowed at any cost. “We want authorities to work on this and file their reports before court,” the division observed.