The West Bengal pollution control board shut down 49 illegally operating brickfields in Nadia district after the high court rapped the government for laxity. Chief law officer of the board Biswajit Mukherjee said the brickfields did not have official consent for operating and were operating without proper pollution control measures.
The court direction came in November 2009 following a writ petition filed by residents and farmers groups in Nadia. “Over 100 brickfields are operating in Nadia, ignoring a directive issued by the state land reforms department in 2000 that states the modus operandi for brickfields in the state,” said Lakhan Sarkar, assistant secretary of Nadia brick manufacturers and sellers association. The directive is based on a departmental report that said some brickfields have damaged the topsoil rendering the land unsuitable for agriculture. The directive bars brickfields to operate on orchard and forestland or take silt without clearance. Mukherjee said 2,500 of the 3,500 brickfields operating across the state are on agricultural land and the rest are on the fertile alluvial soil of the riverbed.
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