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Illegal brick kilns

Brick kilns are a major source of environmental pollution because of the huge quantity of smoke that they emit from the chimneys. The emission of carbon dioxide in such a large quantity is injurious to human and animal life and equally to flora and fauna of the region. This is the reason why Governments issue strict instructions to relevant bodies to ensure that brick kilns are opened and allowed to function under very strict conditions.
Bricks are an important component of construction material. No house can be built without bricks. That speaks a lot for its production on a large scale.  Naturally when the Government formulates rules and regulations for establishment of brick kilns, it cannot ignore the importance of this stuff for construction purposes. Therefore, the rules are such as allow brick kilns to function but not contribute to air pollution or environmental degradation or harming public health. These are the basics of the existing laws about brick kilns.
A PIL has been filed in the Division Bench of High Court seeking to restrain creating of new but illegal brick kilns and the existing ones thatviolate the established rules. Naturally, the Government becomes part of the litigation, particularly the Department of Environment under whose jurisdiction the matter falls. In response to the court order, Regional Director, Pollution Control Board Jammu Division directed the District Officers to inspect each and every brick kiln falling in their respective jurisdictions and submit report under intimation to the concerned District Magistrates (DMs) for necessary action under law. The report received from these sources is horrifying. In their reports, the District and Divisional Officers pointed out that 85 brick kilns are operating in Jammu North, 43 in Jammu South, one in Samba North, 48 in Samba South, two in Reasi, 11 in Udhampur, 21 in Rajouri and 42 in Kathua district. All these brick kilns are operating illegally in the absence of environment clearance under EIA Notification 2006. This highly disturbing report should have evoked immediate response from the Government authorities particularly the Pollution Control Board. The District Magistrates (DMs) hardly took any cognizance of the importance and urgency of action in this behalf and till date the large number of brick kilns continues to function almost illegally. The Pollution Control Board sent repeated reminders to the district authorities to ensure that the rules regarding protection of environment and pollution control are strictly enforced. It is highly regrettable that the authorities are totally unmindful of the threat to human and plant life.
It gives rise to a number of suspicions that there is a nexus working behind the curtain and allowing illegal brick kilns to function. After all this is a huge business and bricks are always in demand. It could be just possible that law enforcing agencies and those running the brick kilns are in league to hoodwink the law and make hey while the suns shines. It is pertinent to mention here that the brick kilns are required to apply for environment clearance before the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) headed by the respective Deputy Commissioners. Naturally Division Bench has taken a very serious note of the matter.
The Court will proceed with the matter as it does, but the question remains that why should not the local authorities be brought to book for exposing the innocent people to the hazard of health problems caused by polluted air and environment.  Why are new brick kilns allowed to appear without prior permission from proper authorities? Why are they allowed to come up and then a long time takes to take the case to the court of law and then implement the court decision. It is a matter of years not months and during that time how much damage will be done to the public health is the real question. State administration shall have to devise some mechanism of not allowing any brick kiln to appear unless it has proper permission.

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