Bihar to close down brick kilns along the Ganga

There are around 6,477 registered brick kilns operating on the banks of the river

 
By Alok Gupta
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The mines and geology department of Bihar will phase out brick kilns operating on the banks of the Ganga river in the state. Senior officials are preparing a draft to make crucial changes in the no objection certificate (NOC) norms to put an end to kilns along the national river.

Principal secretary in charge of the department, B Pradhan, said these kilns pose a danger to the Ganga. He said the existing norms for granting permission to kilns are too complicated and need to be changed.

The NOC for operating kilns is issued by the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) but the responsibility for monitoring them lies with the mines and geology department. There is no dedicated body for monitoring kilns.

No NOCs

There are around 6,477 registered brick kilns operating on the banks of the river. Elaborating on the plan of action, Pradhan said that just like the ban on stone crushers, a complete ban on kiln operation is being worked out. “We are forming a committee to make changes in the policy for brick kiln operation,” he said.

The state had earlier completelybanned stone crushers within a year by stopping issue of NOCs. The same strategy is being implemented with regard to brick kilns.

Senior officials of the department accepted that severe staff shortage has severely hampered monitoring of brick kilns. There is always confusion over who will take action against the kiln owners who violate environmental laws. Pradhan accepted that there are many illegal brick kiln operating the state.

“Under the new policy, BSPCB would be asked to stop issuing NOCs for new kilns,” said the additional secretary-cum-director of mines and geology department.

Mines department will continue to do the inspection of kilns but now it will do it along with the officials of BSPCB.

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