“60-70 buses enter Kashmir every day”: Process of brick manufacturing begins

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Srinagar: In the Shadow of escalating brick rates, the brick manufacturing process in Kashmir is gearing up and most of the brick kilns in Kashmir have started the process of brick manufacturing. Most of the migrant labourers have been transported from Jammu where they were working till the onset of the monsoon but that does not suffice the lot needed here in Kashmir for brick manufacturing industry.

Administration has worked out a comprehensive plan of action for transportation of migrant labourers from neighbouring states vis- UP, Punjab, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, etc.

“There are set guidelines/SOP’s in place regarding transportation of labourers from outside states and those are followed strictly”, said Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole while interacting with a local news gathering agency Kashmir News Service. “We allow around 2,000 labourers on daily basis to enter J&K through Lakhanpur. It will surely boost the developmental activities in the division and rates of bricks will slash down comprehensively. The buses from other states are not allowed to enter Jammu and Kashmir, rather Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation(SRTC) is providing/ hiring buses from local transporters for transportation of labourers from Lakhanpur to the Brick Kiln sites”, said Mr. P K Pole. Answering a query, he said that the sampling/testing of each and every Labourer is done at the toll post Lower Munda and not a single labourer is allowed to enter Kashmir without testing. He elaborated that the labourers are then quarantined at their respective Brick Kiln sites for 3 days or until the test comes negative.

“Bricks are essential for developmental activities, especially building and housing projects and we want to promote these developmental activities in public as well as in private sectors” Divisional Commissioner said.

While talking to Deputy Commissioner Anantnag K K Sidha, who is monitoring the sampling process in Lower Munda, said that all the covid 19 test reports of migrant labourers until 16 July have been received and only 11 of them are positive, who have been shifted to isolation centres.
“People need not to worry, as we are fully aware of the situation. Out of thousands of labourers, 11 turning to be positive should not send panic waves across the Kashmir, as some are hellbent to create, keeping in view the number of positive cases coming out in Kashmir on daily basis,” DC Anantnag Said.

He also said “Every day we receive 60-70 buses and collect more than 2500 samples. Yesterday we sampled more than 2800 labourers in a single day”.

While reacting to a question he said “Today we have seized three buses at Lower Munda which were not part of the list shared by the Labour Commissioner. We have fined the brick kiln owner and also we have taken samples of these labourers for testing, and we are looking into the provision of collection of the costs from the brick kiln owner, so that it will be a case of deterrent for others . The buses were coming from Jammu”.

CMO Kulgam, who is monitoring the sampling/testing process at Lower Munda said that there are at least 15 stalls in place at Lower Munda, for around 2000 labourers (on daily basis) who come here from neighbouring states to start the developmental and other activities in the division. Replying to a question he said that around eleven thousand samples have been collected till Sunday evening.

According to set guidelines/SOP’s, copy of which is with KNS, the Brick Kiln owner have to provide the lists of labourers, with all the details in a prescribed format, to their respective Assistant Labour Commissioners. The Assistant Labour Commissioners have to forward this list to the Labour Commissioner J&K. The Labour Commissioner J&K then has to prepare at daily manifest of around 2000 labourers and forward the same to the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir/Jammu, Nodal Officer in-charge Lakhanpur and District Magistrates’ Kathua and Anantnag.

The movement of labourers is being regulated by Labour Department in coordination with Divisional commissioner’s office Jammu.

The owner of a Brick Killn is responsible to facilitate the movement of labourers from source state to Lakhanpur on his own expense, after following the necessary SOP’s, and from Lakhanpur, the incharge Nodal Officer, in coordination with Labour Commissioner J&K, will regulate the inward movement of the labourers.

JKSRTC is responsible for arranging the buses for transportation of these labourers and the costs are being bearded by brick kiln owners.

Taking into account the security issues, the invert movement from Jawahar Tunnel is allowed between 6:00 a.m to 5 p.m. To avoid rush at sampling site at Lower Munda, the labourers from Banihal are allowed in batches of 10 buses each, with a time interval of 15 to 20 minutes between the two. Taking into account the large number of vehicles, around 70, on daily basis, sufficient number of police escort is provided from Jawahar Tunnel to Brick Kiln sites, under the supervision of IG Kashmir. IG Police (traffic), J-K, is responsible for coordination of movement from Kathua to Valley and SSP Ruler Kashmir has to deploy sufficient manpower from Jawahar Tunnel to Brick Kilin sites for smooth movement of labourers.

All the arrangements for labour vis-a-vis boarding, lodging, hand washing, sanitization, providing face mask etc shall be made by Brick Kiln owner during the period of stay at Brick Kiln.

Also, Divisional level and District level Coordination teams have been framed for hassle-free inward movement of migrant labourers. (KNS)

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