All brick kilns in Kashmir operate without registration, license
Srinagar, Sep 9: Brick kilns in the valley have been operating without registration and license. As per the official documents, the valley has around 284 brick kilns out of which 272 are functional, and 12 are non-functional. “They are unauthorised units, polluting the environment and rendering the land useless for agriculture,” an official in the State Pollution Control Board said. Budgam district tops the list with 164 brick kilns functioning without licenses, followed by Anantnag with 52, Pulwama 35, Kulgam, 27, and Baramulla with two. In Anantnag district, of 56 brick kilns, 51 are functional, five are non-functional, 52 are without license, and four have valid license. In Pulwama district, of 35 brick kilns, 34 are functional, one is non-functional, 35 are without license, and two have expired. Director State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Syed Nadeem Hussain, expressed helplessness in dealing with the unauthorised kilns. “Not a single brick kiln is registered with the PCB. The board has issued notices in hundreds till date but all in vain. The district administrations have always lagged behind in taking some concrete steps in checking the gross violation of rules by the brick kiln owners,” Hussain said. While as the district administration Budgam and Directorate of Food and Civil Supplies shifted responsibilities in addressing the issue. “In December 2017, the new rules have come and the Directorate of Food and Civil Supplies was made the final authority. We are only the executing agency in this matter which means we only execute whatever the directorate issues,” Deputy Commissioner Budgam Sehrish Asgar told The Kashmir Monitor. Director Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (CAPD), Nisar Ahmad Wani, blamed the previous deputy commissioners for not ensuring whether the brick kilns are registered or not. “The powers were given to us in January this year. Since then, we have issued several show-cause notices to the brick kiln owners,” he said. “The owners of brick kilns blame the former DCs as their documents are pending with them. Basically, the brick kiln owners and some authorities have been working hand in glove and have turned a blind eye towards these blatant violations till now.” The Directorate is further planning to take some measures if they fail to receive any response in a fortnight, he said. The High Court had earlier directed the government to take appropriate steps for relocating the brick-kilns located in the vicinity of Srinagar International Airport. The court issued the direction after it was informed that presence of smoke from the brick kilns that adds to the reduced visibility from October to March at Srinagar Airport.