Rashid Paul

Rehabilitation of people affected by closing stone quarries along Mawar Nallah

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Rashid Paul

Srinagar, Dec 12: After ordering closure of stone quarry units along Mawar Nallah in Handwara area of north Kashmir, the J&K High Court Wednesday sought a report from the government indicating framing of a policy for rehabilitation of the affected unit holders.

Justices A M Magrey and Sanjeev Kumar directed the government to file a consolidated report indicating therein framing of a policy for rehabilitation of affected stone quarry owners in the area.

The court had earlier ordered Deputy Commissioner Kupwara to close down all quarry units along Mawar Nallah in Handwara area of the borders district of Kupwara.

Hearing Public Interest Litigation praying for closure and stopping of illegal stone quarrying in forest demarcated areas and state land of Handwara, a division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Sanjeev Kumar had directed the Deputy Commissioner to conduct a spot visit of the area.

The Commissioner had been asked to find out as to whether any quarry unit was in operation illegally, and if so, close it down instantly.

The directions followed a report by Member Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir State Pollution Control Board (PCB).

The court called for increasing the green belt area around the stone quarries, crushers and hot-mix plants. It directed certain government departments like Irrigation and Flood Control, Geology and Mining and competent authority to start conservation measures for protection of Mawar Nallah, including safety of its banks to prevent any change in the course of its flow.

“The PCB shall carry out ambient air quality monitoring during April to June 2019 when all the units are in operation and also monitor the water quality in two kilometer upstream and downstream of Mawar Nallah during the period when the Nallah is in full flow,” directed the court.

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