Residents of Khrew village in south Kashmir's Pulwama district have shown resentment over proposal of setting a new cement factory in the area.
“We strongly oppose proposal of setting up of a new cement factory in Khrew area, Ghulam Mohammad Wani”, Secretary Social Welfare Forum, said.
He added that they have been suffering since 1979 when the first cement plant was established in Khrew.
He said that their elders had consented setting up of cement factories in Khrew after they were assured in writing by owners of these cement factories that pollution would be kept under check and they would initiate people welfare measures in the area.
"The agreements they signed with our elders were disrespected. Pollution has taken a heavy toll on our health," he said.
Another civil society member of Khrew, Ghulam Ahmad Bhat said that unchecked pollution by the cement factories has snatched their agriculture and water resources.
"The pollution turned our fertile land barren and many fresh water springs dried up due to ecological changes triggered by raising pollution," he said, adding they don't want one more cement factory which will further degrade fragile ecosystem of the area.
Similar views were expressed by Abdul Majeed Wani, a senior citizen of Khrew.
He said that the area is falling close to Dichigam wildlife sanctuary.
The cement factories already encroached into the territory of the sanctuary and a new plant will impact it further.
"We already have been bearing a lot, some people started migrating from this place due to pollution, we don't want see worse," he said.
The residents said that they have already conveyed their resentment to authorities of pollution control board.
Authorities of PCB said that they held a public hearing with concerned villagers on clearance of proposal for setting up a cement plant of capacity of 1200 metric ton per day at Batayan Khrew.
"We heard views of local populace. The views whether in the favour or against have been recorded. The views will be summarised and sent to government," the authorities said, adding the aim of the hearing was to gauge the mood of the local populace and apprise government about it.