The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has sent notice to the Deputy Commissioner of Budgam district and the member secretary of the Pollution Control Committee over allegations of granting permission to set up two brick kilns in Rangeen Kultreh village.
1,000 almond trees cut down
The petitioners claim that more than 1,000 almond trees were cut down on the Karewa land at Rangeen Kultreh in Budgam last year by some landowners who want to lease their land for brick kilns as they claim the almond trees were not bringing them a good income and the brick kilns give them Rs 30,000 per year for a dirt canal.
The court has also issued notice to the District Officer of PCC Budgam, Tehsildar Chadoora, and Mughloo Brick Kiln, seeking their response on the matter.
Orchardists Abdul Gani Bhat and others filed a plea, seeking judicial intervention against the order of the Member Secretary PCC, who granted permission to establish the kilns in favour of M/S Mughloo Brick Kiln.
The petitioners allege that the PCC district officer of Budgam refused to issue the consent order on March 12, 2022, and other departments had also expressed concern over the issue.
Nevertheless, the member secretary of the PCC still issued the consent order on November 24, 2022.
Budgam PCC field staff failed to deliver NOCs for the brick kilns in March last year and wrote an adverse report, which was filed with the high court, said Bhat, the petitioner in the case. However, the PCC member secretary still issued the consent after nine months.
According to Bhat, after the consent order was issued, some people are taking money from others to install more brick kilns. Locals from Kultreh and adjacent villages in Chadoora have called on DC Budgam, Air Force and other departments to investigate the matter.
There are already two dozen brick kilns in the area, and more kilns will harm the environment and threaten air traffic since the airport and air force base are three to four kilometres away from the region.
Villagers appeal to DC Budgam
The locals of Kultreh and adjoining villages in Chadoora have appealed to the DC Budgam, and other departments to address the issue.
The chairman of the Budgam Zila Parishad had also written a letter to the Budgam DC, expressing concern over the consent given.
The High Court Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal issued the notice on March 2, 2023, and the case will be heard on March 17, 2023.
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