District admin seals stones crushing plants in Swabi

F.P. Report

SWABI: The stones crushing plants in the Swabi have been closed by district administration and the officials told the owners that they should get no objection certificate (NoC) from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sources in administration said on Monday.

The owners must get the NoC from EPA and if they failed none of them would not be allowed to continue their work at any cost, said the sources. The situation remained highly perturbed and confused.

It was not immediately known that what were the reasons that the government has taken a prompt action against the crushing plants, adopted a new policy while telling the owners that this must be followed. However, some of the officials said that due to pollution hazard created the plants they were told to get the NoC.

Sources said that the action was taken on the directive of the provincial government and all crushing plants have stopped, except those who had succeeded to get NoC from the EPA earlier.

It has been learnt that a number of plant owners of the district had visited the agency but returned frustrated and perplexed.

When contacted, Gul Zamin Shah who owned three crushing plants, operating in Saleem Khan Mountains said that he had applied for NoC last year and the officials of the agency had visited his plants as well.

“The officials had agreed that there was no problem at our plants but despite that the agency refused to issue the NoC,” he said.

In reply to a question, he said that action has been taken across the province on the Chef Secretary directive and there are about 5000 stones crushing plants in the province where thousands workers earn their livelihood with dignity and honor.

He alleged that the agency was told by the officials that they should not issue NoC to the owners and the industrial department has also been told that those who failed to acquire NoC from the EPA should not be allowed to operate.

The owners of other plants said that the closure of the plants would have great impact on the livelihood of several families and it would also cause stopped or crippling the construction activities.

“I have a small plant where about 60 workers work. With the closure of the plants they were advised to stay at homes. The workers of other plants faced a similar dilemma,” said Muhammad Farooq of Palodand.

The owners said that the ongoing construction projects, including the completion of Swat Expressway would also be affected. Similarly the government continued various construction projects would also be delayed, they said.

They said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led KP government should adopt a policy and they would work according to that. “We are peaceful workers and ready to would follow the policy,” said Mr Farooq.

However, when the industrial department and agency both refused to issue them NoC what they would do where they go and what would be fate of their investment and thousand workers across the province.

“We face a highly confused scenario. We do not know what should be done and how protect our business,” said Mr Shah. “The livelihood of numerous people directly and indirectly links with running of the crushing plants.”