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Group raises questions over 100 illegal brick kilns in plain belt

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From Our Correspondent

Phulbari, Jan 10: An NGO from the plain belt of Garo Hills, Garo Hills Youth Organization (GHYO) has raised concerns over the mushrooming of over 100 illegal brick kilns in the plain belt of West Garo Hills (WGH) between Hallidayganj to Tikrikilla.
The matter came to light following visits paid by the NGO to various locations where brick kilns (Bangla bhata) were seen at various locations in full view of the public as well as GHADC and state forest officials.
“I have filed a complaint with the DC and SP of WGH against the illegal brick kilns to prevent and control air pollution and save arable land for cultivation. Most of these kilns have come up in farm lands. I have sought legal and punitive action against the wrongdoers who are involved in these illegal acts and their failure to comply with the provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and other similar Acts,” said president Nazmul Hussain.
The NGO claimed that over 100 illegal brick kilns have been established between Hallidayganj to Chibinang irk the local people.
“These have violated the right to healthy living and the administration has failed to act to stop them. Villagers have been suffering from serious health issues over the past few years due to the toxic smoke generated by these illegal units,” he added.
“These illegal kilns don’t have a chimney to control air pollution and are banned across the state. However, here, unscrupulous elements are running these kilns in broad daylight. This has brought into the role of the administration, forest and other concerned departments whose duty is to monitor such activities. They bribe the police and concerned authorities to run the illegal brick kilns,” asked Nazmul.
The setting up of these illegal kilns has also seen wanton destruction of trees as timber is used as fuel to burn the bricks.
The NGO added that no NOCs have been received in the setting up of these kilns and most were only seasonal operators. Interestingly some have been established within the archaeological sites in villages like Wadagokgre and Rajpur.
“Authorities need to act on these quickly. Some of these kilns are set up beside the road conspicuously. Immediate crackdown on these kilns is highly necessary,” added the GHCO president who also alleged about deployment of child labour in these illegally run kilns.
The NGO added that they were willing to extend help to the authorities for identifying and sealing these illegal kilns.

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