The future of 500-odd stone-crushing units around Bangalore is uncertain, what with the March 6 deadline to shift these units to ‘safe zone’ approaching fast.
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has maintained that the units must either shift or halt operations. The move comes after the high court directed the state to frame a policy for stone-crushing units and laid down guidelines to identify safe zones.
More than one lakh people will be unemployed if these units are shut. Emphasising the need to shift the units to safe zones, KSPCB chairman AS Sadashivaiah said the units in Bettalasur have become a nuisance. He said the area is polluted with dust, causing a lot of problems. He said pollution-control norms were not being followed.
BS Lakshmipathi, president, Karnataka State Stone Crushers and Quarry Owners’ Association, said that while the state had passed a bill to shift the units, concrete efforts were not being made to identify safe zones. “How can they expect us to oblige when the authorities are yet to identify safe zones!” he said.
Sadashivaiah said one of the pollution-control norms is sprinkling water around the units to prevent dust pollution, adding that nobody was doing it at Bettalasuru. He said the KSPCB would not have any issue if the owners follow the rules.
However, D Ramanath Reddy, president, Bangalore District Stone Crushers and Quarry Owners’ Association, does not buy the argument.
“We need a lot of money to implement the pollution control norms. Where is the guarantee of allowing the stone-crushing units to function from the same location? How can we invest money in such a situation!” he said, adding that the unit owners were facing a lot of problems because of the negligence of authorities in identifying safe zones.
A KSPCB official said owners of units in Bettalasuru have not hired water tankers.
“It is unfortunate to see residents facing health problems due to the dust that pervade the
surrounding areas,’’ said the official.
Reddy said that the members of his association have made a rule that they have to buy water for sprinkling, but it cannot be implemented because there is no road to bring a water tanker.
Land for safe zone
Meanwhile, Bangalore Rural deputy commissioner Shankar Narayan said a meeting was held to identify safe zones. He said they have identified land near Chikballapur and Hoskote.
He said the government was planning to allot 20 guntas or half an acre to each stone-crushing unit.
However, owners of stone-crushing units want the government to allow them to operate from their present location to avoid escalation of cost. Owner of a stone-crushing unit said if the location is changed, they would have to pay for transportation, which would mean the cost of a truckload of gravel would increase to Rs8,000 from Rs4,000.As the professional manufacturer of complete sets of mining machinery, such as Stone crushing plant,Hammer Crusher,Stone production line, Henan Hongxing is always doing the best in products and service.
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