The brick kilns in Derabassi area may face action as the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has formed teams which are carrying out checks in the district, especially in Derabassi area, where the maximum number of brick kilns are located in the district. The brick kiln owners, however, assert that they are following the norms specified by PPCB and they are being harassed unnecessarily. Residents, however, demand that the brick kilns should be shut for one week so that the situation could improve.
There are nearly 50 brick kilns operational in Derabassi and Lalru area. All of them are working. The owners of the brick kilns maintain the existing problem is not due to the brick kilns. “We have been working in the area for the last 25 years. This smog is due to the burning of paddy stubble. But only shutting down the brick kilns is not the solution. Yes, PPCB teams have started checking the brick kilns almost every day for the last four days,” says Saket, an owner of a brick kiln at Lalru.
Another brick kiln owner, Sarbjeet Singh Dhillon, who is also an engineer, says that according to norms, the brick kilns are permitted to emit up to 750 suspended particulate matter (SPM). “We are always made scapegoats. What can we do? If the government asks, we will shut down our brick kilns,” Dhillon said. “But will it make any difference?”
The general secretary of Punjab Brick Kiln Association, Surinder Singla, says that they had already asked the brick kiln owners to meet all the specifications of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the PPCB.
P S Virdi, the chairman of Consumer Protection Federation of the district, says that if the government could not stop the farmers from burning the paddy stubble, then at least they should shut the brick kilns for a few days so that the situation could improve to some extent.
The chairman of PPCB, Kahan Singh Pannu, says that they have formed 100 teams of officials who are carrying out checks at the brick kilns in the state. He adds that he had directed the officials to carry out checks in the Derabassi area even on off days and take strict action if anyone is violating the norms.