GUWAHATI, Jan 1 � Posing serious health hazards and environmental concerns, mushrooming of unauthorized brick kilns in the periphery of Guwahati city has set alarm bells ringing for the district administration, which has intensified drive to remove such set ups in the new year.
Unauthorized brick kilns industries, most of which have sprung up on government land, specially in Chandrapur and Sonapur revenue circles not just flout environmental norms, but operate illegally without obtaining government permission of using the land for the purpose and necessary licence from the State Industry Department and the Pollution Control Board of Assam (PCBA).
According to an estimate, such brick kilns had occupied total 549 bighas and 16 lesas in three revenue circles, including Dispur.
Following a private case, Pintu Ghosh Vs Mukti Prasad Chauhan (two brick kiln owners) the Gauhati High Court had asked the district administration to remove all brick kilns set up illegally on government land in Kamrup (Metro). The drive, however, received a setback with a number of brick kiln owners approaching the court against the district administration.
�We had identified 35 numbers of unauthorized brick kilns operating in the city fringes, of which 16 were operational in Sonapur revenue circle, one in Dispur revenue circle and rests of the 18 were set up in Chandrapur revenue circle. In the eviction drive that was carried out by the administration, a significant number of such illegal set ups were removed from 203 bighas and 1 lesa land,� said Bharat Bhushan Deb Choudhury, ADC, Kamrup (Metro).
Section 144 of the CrPC has been promulgated by the Deputy Commissioner, prohibiting work on such sites where eviction has been carried out, after reports of renewed activity in the unauthorized brick kilns.
�We have asked the circle officer to carry out eviction drive on all the unauthorized brick kilns, where there is no stay order from the court. With the New Year, the drive would be intensified.
�Other than causing pollution, it also alters the soil structure. In Chandrapur area, most of the illegal brick kilns were located near riverside or other water bodies also cause water pollution,� he added.
Noting the fact that it was crucial to control the growth of such hazardous industries near residential localities, on the riverside etc., the district authorities explained that freeing government land from illegal encroachment essential for utilizing it for other developmental purposes. �Land in and around Guwahati is required for many developmental activities. Clearing all such illegal brick kilns would make available a large area for constructive purposes,� he added.