The pollution caused by six vertical shaft cement factories in areas of Khunmoh Wuyan and Khrew Shar in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district have made lives of people residing in these areas hell. Though time and again the factories were asked by the concerned authorities to install pollution control devices of prescribed standards, the order was never implemented. And if the villagers of Shar Khrew are to be believed, three more cement factories are going to be set up in the area soon for which land has been already acquired.
“The pollution not only has affected our health but also destroyed the saffron land in the area. Land prices have come down sharply in the past few years. Most of the people here suffer from chest related diseases caused due to dust emanated from cement factories. Even children suffer from chronic bronchitis,” said Abdul Majeed, a resident of Shar.
“There has been a rise in respiratory diseases, breathlessness, burning sensation of throat, eyes and nose as well as headache. The factories have destroyed ecology of the area which falls under notified area of Wildlife Sanctuary Khrew,” he added.
Sources said the factory owners are purchasing outdated machinery from Rajasthan at cheap rates and installing it here. The cement factories causing pollution have been closed down in Rajasthan and they sell the machinery in Kashmir. “Three new factories are planning to buy the outdated machinery from Rajasthan. The already existing factories have also increased the capacity of their units manifold. They do care about the environment and problems of the people,” Ghulam Muhammad, a resident of Khrew told Greater Kashmir.