SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Wednesday directed state authorities to rehabilitate stone quarry operators with an observation that no stone quarry operator shall operate near forest areas.
The Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjeev Kumar called on state counsel B A Dar to file a consolidated status report in terms of the policy framed by the government for the rehabilitation of the stone quarry operators after the counsel informed court that the policy has been prepared.
Earlier, court had directed the government to frame a policy of rehabilitation for quarry owners and workers in view of the government’s having banned mining activities in forests and their outskirts in light of the ecological dangers they pose.
The court was also informed by Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Industries and Commerce Department, about availability of the alternate quarry sites.
“In district Baramulla, Veeran site is available. Similarly in Ganderbal, Pahlipora site is available. In district Pulwama, Awantipora, Naginder, Zantrag, Satpokhran, Bathyan, Mandakpal, Khrew, Wuyan, Syed Memmoodabad sites are available,” the report submitted by the Commissioner had said.
“In district Budgam, old sites namely Kralnewa, Tehsil Khanshab, can be restored which is not on a forest land/Kahcharai.”
However, in districts Anantnag and Kupwara, no site is available yet and the government sought more time to look for the sites.
The government had also informed the court that district-level committees were formed for identification of alternative sites in various districts.
It bears mentioning that many stone quarry operators as well as workers have been rendered jobless as the state is yet to frame a rehabilitation policy for them. The court will hear this matter again after the vacations.