Terming the Pathankot district administration's recommendation to lodge FIRs against 132 crusher owners as an illegal move, members of the Punjab Stone Crushers Association on Tuesday threatened to shift their units to the neighbouring state of Jammu and Kashmir.
"We are against illegal mining and want that such elements should be dealt with sternly, but we are not at fault as we bring raw material from J&K and process it for further supply," association president Vijay Passi told reporters during a press conference.
As per the new guidelines, crusher owners have been directed to get units registered with the mining department. The move was challenged in the Punjab and Haryana high court on the plea that crushers are processing units that not involved in mining. The next date of hearing in the case is November 8.
"Fearing action, almost every crusher owner got his unit registered with the mining department, but we were instructed to supply records of the past six months, for which we sought time from the authorities," Passi said. Instead of giving time, the Pathankot deputy commissioner recently recommended the registration of FIRs against 132 crusher owners, he added.
"In protest against the recommendation, all 210 crushers in Pathankot have stopped work," he said, adding that if the situation remained the same, all crushers would shift to J&K, from where they get raw material. "This will affect development projects in Punjab due to scarcity of stone crushers," he added.
Pathankot-Jammu national highway blocked
Crusher owners blocked the Pathankot-Jammu national highway at Malikpur in protest against the Punjab government and the mining department. At the time of filing of this report, crusher owners had blocked the transport of mining material coming from J&K.