Villagers decry increasing air pollution
Residents of Gambhir Brahmana and Panjgrian areas of Rajouri district today urged the district administration to put immediate check on “excessive pollutants” emanating from crushers and hot mix plants installed in the area, and accused the Pollution Control Board (PCB) of adopting carelessness.
Residents of Gambhir Brahmana and Panjgrian areas of Rajouri district today urged the district administration to put immediate check on "excessive pollutants" emanating from crushers and hot mix plants installed in the area, and accused the Pollution Control Board (PCB) of adopting carelessness.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, locals of the area said that GREF is running two different plants, one for stone crushing and the other for asphalt production in Gambhir Brahmana village along Jammu-Poonch highway, about seven kilometres from here. "The agency has not put in place sufficient safeguards, as a result of which excessive pollutants are discharged into the air which has resulted in large scale air pollution", the locals said, adding, "Huge population in the villages situated in the vicinity of these plants including in Gambhir Brahmana, Panjgrian, Niaka, Khankhari, Tassyala and Nallah villages is getting adversely affected"
They said hundreds of students admitted in Government High School Gambhir Brahmana, Government High School Panjgrian Chamba, Government Middle School Jabbar Dhara, Government Primary School Koora Pani, Government Middle School Kundi Nakkar and Government Middle School Niaka apart from local private schools are getting badly affected due to air pollution.
"Since both the plants are operated in early morning hours, the air becomes very polluted due to which a dense cloud of smoke and dust engulfs the whole area. This also causes cough and throat infection among the residents" they added.
They alleged that the GREF authorities are not following preventive measures in both these plants "due to which large scale smoke, gases, particulate matter, dust and clay is spread".
The locals accused the Pollution Control Board of acting as a mute spectator and allowing GREF to violate norms.
Headmaster Government High School Panjgrian, Mohammad Iqbal Mughal, said that the matter has been brought into the notice of senior officers of district administration, adding that it becomes too difficult to run classes smoothly amid dense cloud of smoke and pollutants.
"Most of the students and staff members can be seem coughing in the morning hours when these plants operate and there is urgent need to check the level of pollution from both these plants", Iqbal added.
When contacted Regional Officer of State Pollution Control Board, Arshad Mirza, said that the plants of GREF fall under the jurisdiction of Central Pollution Control Board since the GREF is a central agency. He however asked the locals of the area to submit a written application before his office after which an inspection of the site will be conducted by SPCB.
He also said that it's mandatory for the concerned agency to install a proper water sprinkling system in stone crusher to bring down the dust and particulate matter. "There are several techniques to be used in Hot Mix Plants which reduces the level of smoke and the level of pollution coming out", he added.