Anantnag : Last year when the brick kiln owners suddenly hiked the brick prices by Rs 10000 citing the denial of permission by the authorities to bring in the labours from other states, government decided to grant them the permission to bring the labourers.
The permission was granted after the brick kiln owners assured the authorities that the availability of the labourers will lead to prices of bricks coming down.
Even after the brick kiln owners brought in their labours amid rise in Covid 19 cases, they continued to sell the bricks at the same rates. The authorities in most of the districts including Anantnag later fixed the rate for a truck load of bricks at Rs 22000 excluding carriage.
However , more than a year later, the bricks in the district continue to sell at Rs 28000 to Rs 30000.
With brick kiln owners not giving damn about the government fixed brick prices, people belonging to middle class or lower middle class have been forced to delay or halt their constructions.
For instance , Tariq-ul-Islam from Dachigam Srigufwara has completed the plinth level of his house in June last year and since then has been waiting for the brick prices to come down.
“After completing the plinth level of my house I decided to wait for brick work till the brick rates come down. Later when the district admin fixed Rs 22000 as the rate for truck load of bricks. I had heaved a sigh of relief. But since then I have been visiting all almost all the brick kilns but they clearly refuse to sell the bricks at government fixed rates,” Tariq told Precious Kashmir.
Three of the brick kiln owners, he said, asked him to go to district admin to get bricks at Rs 22000.
“If you have to buy the bricks the rate is Rs 30000. You can get maximum discount of Rs 1000 or Rs 1500. If you don’t have a strength to buy the bricks at this price then please don’t waste our time as well as yours,” Tariq quoted two brick kiln owners in Anantnag and Vessu areas as having said.
Another resident , Javed Ahmad Shah from Bijbehara who has also stopped the construction on his house due to the skyrocketting of brick prices rued the non-seriousness of authorities in implementing their fixed rates for bricks.
“I have a small business and had started constructing a small house out of my hard earned money. But if the bricks continue to sell at same prices I don’t think I will be able to restart the construction. Authorities should stop this loot on part of brick kiln owners. If they fail to do so it will be impossible for labor class to even think of constructing houses,” Shah said.
The brick kiln owners, many people who spoke to Precious Kashmir refused to speak over phone when asked about the rates.
“I spoke to three brick kiln owners and asked them about brick rates but all of them told me to come to the office and that rates are not discussed on phone. They fear that their calls may be recorded which will land them in trouble later. They are playing very smart,” said Sameer Mushtaq of Anantnag town whose house is under construction from last one year.
Assisstant commissioner revenue (ACR) Anantnag , Syed Yasir said that AD , CAPD, who is heading the enforcement committee to check the violation has started a drive against such brick kiln owners.
“We have taken a strong cognizance of the matter and the enforcement team will be directed to go tough against the brick kiln owners violating the government fixed rates,” the ACR said.
Meanwhile, DC Anantnag on Wednesday, acting on the public complaints ordered the implementation of the brick sale rates fixed and notified vide no. 325 of 2020. Deputy Commissioner in the order constituted a committee headed by AD , CA and PD to ensure the implementation of the brick prices.