Govt officers patronising illegal units: Report

Stone crushing exposes public to diseases

DERA GHAZI KHAN-Criminal negligence and corruption have been committed by the government departments in the establishment of 127 illegal stone-crusher plants in Sakhi Sarwar Town and 5 plants in Tauns Sharif, finds an official report.
The Additional Deputy Commissioner Revenue (ADCR) has remarked in the inquiry report that all the stone crushers were working without proper permission from any of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Auqaf Department, Mines & Mineral Department, Labour Department and Industries Department.
Even labourers work without adopting any safety measures. The functioning of crushing units is badly disastrous for human health and nearby population resulting in fatal health problems.
The ADCR remarked about EPA that the department remained slept till 2016. Even after 2016, there is no effective mechanism to monitor the establishment and functioning of crushing units by the department. Action against defaulting officers of EPA is recommended for their criminal negligence/misconduct.
The inquiry officer said Mepco is bound to obtain an NOC from Mines & Mineral Department before installation of electricity connection while Mepco has provided electric supply connection to 127 crushing units without NOCs. Similarly, Mines & Mineral Department has issued only five NOCs to crushers owners without permission from EPA. Both the departments - Mines & Minerals Department and MEPCO are accountable for it, he said.
Regarding Auqaf Department, the inquiry officer remarked that 61 crushing units were installed on the Waqf land controlled by Auqaf Department without any land lease agreements while Auqaf Department acknowledged only three cases of land lease in 2005. Growth of the industry did not happen suddenly, he said.
The Auqaf Department has been found incapable to stop the illegal growth. Resultantly the huge number of units has been installed upon the Wafq land, he disclosed.
"Only one FIR against some encroachers was registered in 2004 and likewise only 23 cases were registered in seven years during 2011 to 2017. The Auqaf Department has no care as to what activity has been launched and continued on its land," he regretted.
He also recommended that the police and prosecution department be provided with legal help and assistance for prompt action.
Talking to The Nation, ADCR Iqbal Mazhar said the inquiry report had been submitted to Deputy Commissioner of DG Khan. He hoped the DC office would take strict action against all the officials who patronised the illegally installed stone crushing plants which cause serious threats to the public health and environment.
A local resident of Sakhi Sarwar Town, Mujahid Abbas, said all the illegally installed stone crushing plants' earning was in full swing nowadays because stones demand has risen up due to CPEC projects.
The Stone crushing industry is a big scam in the district as many corrupt high-profile officers are directly involved in the business and silent partners of it. It is impossible for the district administration to take action against them on the recommendations of the inquiry report, he concluded.

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