Pardesi concerned over plight of stone quarry workers

Seeks immediate steps to alleviate their sufferings

Srinagar, 06 June (KNS): Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Monday expressed concern over the plight of thousands of stone quarry workers who find themselves permanently out of work following a government order banning quarrying in Athwajan-Patha Chowk belt, saying the order has affected the livelihood of hundreds of families.
According to statement issued to KNS, he said the ban has had a cascading effect on the entire economic activity of the area, not just those involved with the quarrying business, YNC Provincial Vice President Ahsan Pardesi said while expressing dismay over the predicaments, the families associated with the trade are going through. “Besides affecting the livelihood of hundreds of businessmen associated directly with the quarrying, people indirectly associated with the trade have also bore the brunt of the ban. At a time when the employment scenario in J&k is already grim, banning a worthwhile economic activity that provides employment to thousands of families sounds injudicious and outlandish,” he said.
Thousands of skilled and unskilled workers who live hand to mouth have been pushed to starvation as a result of the ban; he said adding, “The measure of banning the viable activity has led to the impoverishment of families associated with it. Cash strapped, and weighed under huge debts, the affected families are not able to run their household chores,” he said.
Putting the administration in a spot, Ahsan said that how administration could be so numb to the suffering of numerous families whose only source of livelihood stands banned overnight. “The affected lot has been making fervent appeals to the administration to review the ban; administration on their part has so far given them the cold shoulder. Their pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” he said.
The geology and mining department has had a series of meetings on the issue, in its third meeting the department had reached a conclusion that there was no harm in continuing with the quarrying activity provided the practice was carried out scientifically. “Since then the issue is awaiting the nod of commissioner secretary industries and commerce. Indifference of the concerned agencies and officials has added to the trepidation of thousands of families who are eagerly waiting for speedy redressal of their woes. One is at its wits end to ascertain why the fate of these families has been put in a lurch, given that the Department of Geology and mining has already given it a go ahead prescribing the use of scientific methods,” he said.
Drawing the attention of the government towards the quandary of people associated with the trade in the Zewan – Khonmoh stretch of city out skirts he said, “People associated with the quarrying business in Zewan-Khonmoh stretch on other hand were told by the concerned authorities that a new handout of guidelines would be given to them for strict compliance, so far the concerned authorities haven’t come up with any, not to speak of sharing it with the traders. The troubled lot is awaiting the issuances of necessary NOCs from various departments to carry on with their vocation. NOC’s as norm are issued within a fortnight but, in this case it has been more than six months,’ he added.
He urged the government to take immediate steps to alleviate the suffering of the traders associated with the trade without any further delay. “Government attitude is ambiguous on this issue. On one hand the traders aren't allowed to work, and on the other hand nothing substantial is being done for their rehabilitation.” (KNS)


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