Bandipora quarry workers protest ban on stone quarries

Scores of quarry workers protested in SaderkootBala village of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Wednesday against the government for continuously banning stone quarry works.

The quarry workers shouted slogans demanding justice and revocation of the continuous ban on stone excavation by the government.

The protesters said that the move of the authorities had left them jobless and their families in dire straits.

“Our livelihood is being snatched. We all earn hand to mouth and if the ban persists where will we go? How would we feed our families,” said Anayat Ahmad, president Stone Quarry Association based in SaderkootBala village.

Saderkoot in Bandipora is famous for stone carvings with scores of young and elderly associated with the trade and the skill gets passes down from generation to generation.

The ban has now left most people from S K Bala and other adjacent villages without work.

 “We are poor. The ban has threatened this business as well as skills associated with it,” Ahmad said.

He said the ban coupled with post-Article 370 and COVID19 lockdown is proving disastrous for the people involved in the trade.

Requesting the Geology and Mining department to discuss this issue among the stakeholders, they appealed Lieutenant Governor ManojSinha’s administration to look into the issue.