Bengal firm on curbs on illegal quarries

August 1st, 2010 - 12:15 am ICT by IANS  

Suri (Birbhum), July 31 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here Saturday that no illegal stone quarry would be allowed in Birbhum district.
Stone quarries in the area were closed down in the past four months after the tribals living in the stone belt in Birbhum, bordering Jharkhand, launched an agitation alleging that these units were polluting the environment.

It was also alleged that the stone crushing units were causing diseases like silicosis as the owners do not follow mandatory safety measures for the workers and were also exploiting them.

Bhattacharjee met representatives of the tribal group Birbhum Adivasi Gaonta and Panchamir mines owners association at Md. Bazar block office this afternoon.

The chief minister said: “No illegal mines or stone quarries would be allowed to operate in the area as it used to operate earlier. After verification of the documents, the quarries and the mines would be allowed to operate.”

“I have heard problems of both the representatives of the tribal body and the stone quarries operators. A solution will come out soon,” he said.

After the meeting Nazir Hassan Mallick, the president of the mines and quarries owners association, said: “The chief minister has assured us that 42 quarries and 6 mines, which are legal will be allowed to operate shortly.”

Robin Soren, secretary of the adivasi group, said: “We will not allow any quarries to operate unless the documents of the stone quarries are shown to us in a tripartite meeting.”

Birbhum District Magistrate Soumitra Mohan said: “All the documents of the quarries and the mines have been sent to state commerce and industry department of the state for verification. Unless the clearance certificate is issued to them, no quarries or mines will be allowed to operate in the area.”

Later in the afternoon, the chief minister met with the district administrative officials and the senior police officers to discuss the development issues and law and order situation of the district.

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