Srinagar, July 10: After bricks were being sold at exorbitant rates this year by the kiln owners, the District Administration Budgam today woke up after this week’s Excelsior story and said that they won’t allow overcharging of bricks and raw material.
The bricks are being sold between Rs 28, 000 to Rs 31, 000 per 3000 when the Government had fixed the price at Rs 21, 000.
There are over 300 brick kilns in Kashmir with around 250 in Central Kashmir district of Budgam and according to a conservative estimate, around 30 million bricks are being sold daily these days. By this estimate, the brick kiln owners are overcharging Rs 10 Crore on a daily basis from the customers these days.
An official who was part of fixing the rate of bricks told Excelsior that on an average the manufacturing cost of 3000 bricks in only Rs 9, 000. “We had fixed rates at Rs 21, 000 taking into account profit, tax and losses which the kiln owners suffer at times”, he said.
The Development Commissioner Budgam, Shahbaz Ahmed Mirza who is also Chairman District Level Task Force Committee (DLTFC) along with SSP Budgam Tahir Saleem today convened a meeting to have firsthand status of violations, illegal extraction of minerals, illegal mining, overcharging on bricks and violation of rates fixed for raw material and processed minerals.
A statement issued here said that the meeting also took stock of action taken against those involved in illegal mining and overcharging of bricks, besides demolition of illegal brick kilns already notified was also discussed.
“During the meeting, the DC once again categorically reiterated that the initiative/drive launched by District Administration in active support of other stakeholders has a clear resolve and goal to curb the menace of illegal extractions of minerals from auctioned blocks across the district, already notified in different areas”, the statement said.
“The DC directed District Mineral Officer Budgam to remain in touch with concerned SDMs, Tehsildars and SHOs as and when required, besides execute joint enforcement teams who in case of any information can take result-oriented action on spot”, it said.
The DC said there shall be no leniency or tardy approach from any concerned while attending such urgencies. He said any failure in executing the instructions can have adverse impact on the efficiency of the concerned officer.
DC further directed ADC Dr. Nasir Ahmad to revisit the status of demolition of illegal brick kilns.
He said as already notified 36 brick kilns across the district were found running unauthorisedly, not following and meeting all requisite parameters and guidelines and thus demolition process shall be initiated immediately.
In addition he also directed to take all necessary action against those involved in overcharging and violating the norms of rates fixed for raw materials, processed minerals and brick loads, lodge FIRs wherever necessary, penalize the offenders, seize vehicles and confiscate them under rule.