Skyrocketing prices of bricks: Committee fails to end public woes in Anantnag

Can’t stop loot single handedly, says panel head

By: Ahmad Shabir

Anantnag: The committee constituted by the district administration has failed to act against the soaring prices of bricks in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district as the brick kiln owners here continue to flout the set norms and are selling the bricks at the rate of over Rs 30000 rupees in the district.

In the last week of March, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Anantnag Piyush Singla soon after taking the charge in March had constituted a committee to ensure the implementation of brick rates fixed by the divisional administration in September 2020.

He had passed strict directions to the committee to ensure that the brick kiln owners sell bricks at the government fixed rate of Rs 21000.

This newspaper had highlighted how the brick kiln owners were looting the people by selling a truck load of bricks for over 30000 rupees. Following this newspaper highlighting the open loot by brick kiln owners, the committee constituted by the DC had seized and fined many brick kilns for violating the government fixed rates.

Later, the brick kiln owners stopped selling bricks for some time and moved the court, which asked DC Anantnag to look into genuine grievances of brick kiln owners as well.

DC Anantnag, sources said, sought report from the committee which in its report did not recommend any hike in brick prices.

However, scores of people complained to Precious Kashmir that the brick kiln owners continue to sell bricks as per their will.

A resident of Dachigam Srigufwara, Shanawaz Ahmad who has been approaching brick kilns for last two weeks said that these brick kiln owners are not giving any damn about the government fixed rates.

“I approached four brick kilns, three in Mattan area in last couple of weeks to purchase bricks for my house. All of them refused to sell the brick at government fixed rates. They put the rates of bricks between 31 to 34 thousand rupees,” Ahmad said.

Ahmad said when he objected to one of the brick kiln owners for selling the bricks at such high rates, he arrogantly laughed.

Many other people who spoke to Precious Kashmir complained that the district administration now seems to be giving a free hand to these brick kiln owners.

Assistant Director Food and Civil supplies, who is heading the Committee, admitted that these brick kiln owners are selling the bricks at much higher rates.

“Initially I had directions to go tough against them and we had seized many for violation. Now the committee seems to be for name only. I receive lot of complaints from people on daily basis against these brick kiln owners but I cannot do anything alone. To implement the government fixed rates is the job of the committee not any individual who is part of the committee,” AD said.

He said that if there are fresh directions from Deputy Commissioner in this regard he will again come into action.

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