Quarry owners oppose move to close stone crushing units

Quarry owners oppose move to close stone crushing units

No land available in DK, Udupi dists as per KSPCB guidelines

The Quarry Owners’ Association of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts has opposed the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s  (KSPCB) directive to close the existing stone crushing units and order for shifting the units to far away places by forming safe zones.

Addressing media persons on Thursday, Association President Manoj Shetty termed the order to create safe zones for stone crushing as impractical. With the KSPCB ordering for the closure of quarrying activities following the Supreme Court order, the stone crushing units have stopped functioning since Saturday.

As per the new direction, the quarry owners would be granted permission to resume crushing only after the creation of safe zones. But the creation of safe zones is not financially and technically feasible as it increases the cost production.

In fact, it is not possible to find any safe zone for crushing in both the districts, as the guidelines define safe zones as those places which have a distance of minimum one kilo meter from the habitation, temple, cultivable land etc. The formation of safe zone would require at least 800 acres of land for crushing purpose and there is no availability of land for the same, he said.

Stating that pollution control, which was supposed to be the objective of banning the crushing work, has taken a backseat against the creation of safe zones, Shetty said the order issued by KSPCB lacks clarity.

Formation of new zones will not only incur huge financial loss to the existing industries, but also would create unemployment to over 60,000 people who work in the industry. It would also incur revenue loss to the government. The Mining Department had obtained royalty of Rs 17 crore from stone crushing in Dakshina Kannada district during the year 2011-12, he said.

The President also criticised the decision of bringing in a separate policy for the State, while rest of the States have no such hard and fast rules. “Zonal formation in Haryana stands as an example on how the zones would not help to curb the pollution level.

The pollution caused due to crushing has increased by 80 per cent after the safe zones were opened in Haryana as per the Central Pollution Control Board’s order. The quarry owners are ready to introduce new mechanisms to control the pollution level in the crushing units. Hence, we request the Board to lift the order before the industry falls into trouble,” he demanded.

Vijay Mallya from the Association of Consultant Engineers’ said that the ban would affect the real estate, construction industries and general public.

The Association in consultation with the professors from NIT-K is preparing a technical report on the impact of the ban on the crushing units and construction industry and the society in large.

Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Mohammed Ameen, Quarry Owners’ Association Vice-President K C Kamath and others were present.

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