Malkangiri: The state government is losing out on lakhs of rupees in revenue due to unlicensed brick kilns that are mushrooming across the town and in nearby areas, according to reports.
Residents blame the proliferation of the brick kilns on the indifferent attitude of the revenue and the forest departments which they say have miserably failed to act against the illegal structures. The residents have also threatened to take to the streets if immediate measures are not taken to close the kilns.
“Even as we’re in the midst of an unprecedented heatwave and with temperatures rising by each passing day, we’re forced to watch helplessly as illegal brick kilns mushroom all around us thus pushing up the heat even further. Our lives have become unbearable as we’re forced to endure heavy pollution levels from the kilns,” said a local.
Locals say they have approached authorities several times over the issue but in vain.
The brick kiln owners have been accused of chopping hundreds of valuable trees like sal, teak, mango and jackfruit for firewood in order to use it in their kilns every day, resulting in a huge loss of forest cover.
They added that over 90 per cent of the brick kilns run illegally near the dam, and in Goudaguda, Chalanguda, MV-1, Korukonda and Kadabahal areas without getting any sort of license from the administration.
According to official sources, the administration has directed the tehsildars, revenue inspectors and supervisors of the concerned areas to take immediate action on brick kiln owners on receiving complaints. All the district collectors were also sent letters in this connection.
However, the administration does not take any action against the kiln owners even though a several complaints were lodged against them. As per the norms, the illegal kiln owners should be forced to pay a penalty of of Rs 1 lakh and awarded a five-year jail term as well, residents added.
However, these directives are not followed by the authorities, the residents rued, while demanding that stringent measures be initiated against the kiln owners.
When contacted, Malkangiri tehsildar Manas Ranjan Patnaik said fines have been imposed on some kiln owners earlier. Measures would be taken to stop the kilns on getting complaints about them, he added.
Meanwhile, the residents demanded intervention of the district collector to check mushrooming of the brick kilns in the area. PNN