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Construction creates havoc in Kashmir, destroys ecology and environment in Bandipora
Saqib hussain | 12 Jan 2012

Bandipora residents have accused the State Government and the Pollution Control Board of failing to act against the industries responsible for the pollution and said the area would not be able to absorb any more pollution. Hindustan Construction Company has been controversial since it started working here in 2007 on the 320 MW Kishen Ganaga Hydroelectric Power Project in Bandipora,The Machinery setup of HCC were causing incalculable damage to the environment and making life miserable for all sections of the people in the area.

THOUSANDS OF residents in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, 59 Kilometers from summer capital Srinagar alleged that their houses, water resources and agricultural lands were affected due to pollution caused by a mega stone crusher unit, illegally set up by the Hindustan Construction Company(HCC) executing the construction of 320 Mega Watt Kishen Ganga  Hydro Electric Power Project. Villagers further allege that  few officers in HCC are hand in glove with the contractors who in turn are adding the growing pollution.


Locals said the blasting and stone crushing unit in Kralpora village is directly affecting the livelihood of nearly 10,000 people of adjacent villages in Bandipora district, they questioned "How could they allow stone crushing units close to the human habitations and fertile farm lands."


They further alleged that the colonies set up by HCC and NHPC had created havoc while draining the latrine outlets into the drinking water resources. “Residents of at least nine villages in adjoin Bandipora township  are finding it difficult to lead a normal life due to heavy pollution caused by the stone crusher unit, which is situated in Kralpora village of Bandipora,” alleged Abdul Qayoom heading the belligerent villagers.Vilagers demand the ban on the crusher unit amid the violation of norms.


Locals said apart from causing noise and dust pollution, this crusher is polluting water of Bonar Stream the famous trout habitat and only drinking water source for the villages. "What's the use of development if it leads to destruction of paddy fields and ecological disaster," they questioned.


 “This Stone crusher unit is dangerous, it had affected about 500 acres of fertile agricultural land. A government-run high secondary school and a religious place are also bearing the brunt of pollution,” he alleged.


 The Pazalpora residents said that people had been demanding a joint inspection by agricultural and environmental scientists with government officials, but no one was paying heed to the demand.


Stone crusher of HCC allegedly flouting environmental norms have started to affect the life and livelihood of thousands of villagers residing around the Bandipora Township, most affected villages include  Pazalpora,Mantrigam,Sonarwani,Watrina,Kaloosa,Dachigam,Nathpora ,Panzigam and Onagam  Villagers urged Chief Minster’s intervention to stop the menace of these stone crusher unit and ill management of the HCC.


They alleged that apart from noise and dust pollution this stone crushing unit may also pollute water of Bonar River famous for trout production,, which is the drinking water source for around seven villages.


They accused the State Government and the Pollution Control Board of failing to act against the industries responsible for the pollution and said the area would not be able to absorb any more pollution. Hindustan Construction Company has remained in controversy since it started work in 2007 on the 320 MW Kishen Ganaga Hydroelectric Power Project in Bandipora,The Machinery setup of HCC were causing incalculable damage to the environment and making life miserable for all sections of the people in the area.


“We are the worst victims of chemical pollution and the groundwater is completely contaminated in the area,” complained Ghulam Muhammad of Kralpora. Representatives of several political parties, NGOs and environmental groups echoed the same opinion.


Norms flouted


It is alleged that this stone crusher unit as well as a large new one which is coming up near the village have flouted all norms of environment. They have started to pollute water sources, grazing grounds, traditional Mosques, agriculture and horticulture as well as the health of people in the area.


Sources Told this reporter that few officers have got hefty sum in installing the crusher, they said that besides receiving the huge sum from installation they (officers) in turn have dumped concerned civil officers like Director Pollution, Fishries Officer and concerned Deputy Commissioner.


 Pertinently the crusher has been installed in violation of eth norms besides having No Objection Certificates from the concerned official quarters.


No response


The greatest irony is that at the request of protesting villagers of the area alerted HCC and NHPC officers, they were also consented to depute agricultural scientists to inspect the area to assess the crop loss caused by the stone crusher. But surprisingly the officers in did not respond to the proposal.


Talking to this reporter chief Engineer NHPC Khalid Umer said “so far as the issue of crusher plant is concerned we have nothing   to do with that, HCC had to look into the community safety if the crusher plant is being setup”


“If there is a problem due to the NHPC colony dwellers I will look into the matter and redress the grievances at an earliest” He said