Farmers hold protest against construction of brick kilns in Budgam area

File Photo
File Photo

Srinagar, Aug 18: Scores of farmers from Rangeen Kultreh and its adjoining villages of Chadoora area of Budgam held a protest on Friday against setting up of new brick kilns in the area.

The aggrieved farmers said that the brick kilns are not only affecting their health and environment but also proving disastrous to the agricultural land.

While talking to Greater Kashmir, Abdul Gani Bhat, one of the farmers, said that despite lack of consent from horticulture, agriculture, or other departments, the new brick kilns are coming up, making the situation worse.

“When we brought this issue to the notice of the District Administration Budgam, we were told that these people (brick kiln owners) have applied under land for conversion and they got the permission, but we were not provided the copy of the said order in spite of repeated requests. We have visited all the departments like Horticulture, Agriculture, and Pollution Control authorities and all the departments said that it would be detrimental to the environment. However, still, due to unknown reasons, one more brick kiln is coming up,” Bhat said.

The aggrieved farmers said that merely two decades back, their village had no brick kilns, and now two dozen kilns were set up between 2003 and 2012.

The farmers alleged that district administration and the Pollution Control Committee are not acting against the brick kiln owners.

“The area is very sensitive as it is home to scores of almond, plum fields and apple orchards. These fetch crores of rupees for the district, and if such hazardous acts are not stopped, our farming will be affected badly,” said another farmer.

The farmers said that earlier this year, the Air Force Station in Srinagar sent a letter to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and DC Budgam showing its concern over brick kilns.

“In the letter, the Air Force officials have expressed concern over the issue. They have said it can affect flight visibility and create other issues. Despite such concerns, the new brick kilns are coming up,” said another local.

The aggrieved farmers appealed to the LG administration to intervene in time so that their health, environment, and livelihood could be protected.

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