State directs removal of brick kilns from river beds

Bhubaneswar: Cautious after the devastation in Uttarakhand, Odisha government today asked all district collectors to ensure that no brick kiln operated on river beds.
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro said the flood situation in Uttarakhand had worsened due to large constructions on the river banks and flouting of environmental laws.
In Odisha unscrupulous persons were setting up unauthorised brick kilns along the rivers which lead to erosion of embankments causing floods and other environmental threats, he said adding district collectors have been directed to initiate criminal prosecution against offenders.
Brick kilns by the river side were in violation of provision of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the revenue and disaster management secretary said in his letter to all the 30 district collectors.
Though tahasildars in some cases were realising penalty and rent from the encroacher as a deterrent measure to prevent the recurrence, the owners of brick kiln units continue with their business in gross violation of the prevailing law, he said.
The forest and environment department in 2005 had issued a direction to ensure that no brick kiln be set up within 250 meter of flood embankment, the secretary said adding none should exist within 500 meter from the river bed where there was no flood embankments.
Personal accountability would be fixed on local tahasildar and revenue inspectors for unauthorised functioning of such units along the rivers, the letter added.