Jakhar calls on Nataranjan on closure of brick kilns

Leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar on Thursday called on Union Environment Minister Jayanati Natarajan to highlight the issue of complete closure of brick kiln industry in Punjab.

While informing the minister that in Punjab, nearly 2,700 small brick kilns were not being allowed to function, resulting in unemployment to over 6 lakh labourers, Jakhar said the problem had arisen due to the lackadaisical approach of the Punjab government, which had not amended its Minor Minerals Concession Rules of 1964 as mandated by the Supreme Court directive on February 27.

"States like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have on the directive of the Supreme Court amended their Minor Mineral Policy 1957 and 1964. This has resulted in the complete halt of construction activity in the state leading to unemployment of another 20 lakh labourers and artisans. This disruption is being exploited by mining mafia, as the cost of the construction materials like sand, gravel and bricks have skyrocketed. Mining mafia is enjoying state patronage and profiteering in a big way," said Jakhar.

Natraran, while expressing concern at the situation, assured Jakhar that the ministry would act swiftly to any policy initiative received from the government of Punjab.

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