5 months after removal, potters wait for rehabilitation

  • Monica Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 07, 2016 16:07 IST
Potters watch helplessly in Manimajra on Friday. (Sant Arora/HT Photo)

For 60-year-old potter Sultan, last five months have been nothing less than an ordeal. Ever since the UT pollution control board removed the pottery furnaces, owing to pollution, from Manimajra, Sultan and her husband Gulzar are finding it difficult to survive.

They have been into the pottery business for more than 40 years. Sultan, along with other potters, has met the UT administration officials with representations and even sent letters to the Prime Minister for coming up with a rehabilitation policy.

“I lost my 10-year-old son to snakebite 10 years ago and brought up my four daughters. I have to take care of my two granddaughters as well. We used to earn our living by making pots, but since last one month, survival has been quite difficult,” said Sultan, narrating her story with tears in her eyes.

“We used to earn about Rs 5,000 per month and now, we hardly get half the amount by selling readymade pots. The rest of the potter families have shifted to Bassi Pathana in Punjab to earn their living,” said Gulzar.

Sultan and her husband are not alone, there are 10 other potter families and labourers who have been rendered jobless.

Admn working out rehabilitation plan

With an aim to rehabilitate the potters, the UT administration is planning to come up with a plan under which they are working out modalities to provide chimneys and other infrastructure to keep a check on pollution created in the pottery-making process. Secretary industries KK Jindal said, “We have got representation from the potters and are looking for a solution to this matter.”

Last year, the UT pollution control board had inspected the area and found that pottery making was polluting the air. The board eventually ordered the closure of pottery furnaces on December 31, 2015.

The administration functionaries have held a couple of meetings on the issue to come with a one-time solution so that the potters continue to do their business. The issue relates to different departments, including UT estate office, electricity, industries and CITCO. These departments are involved as they give out land on lease, generate electricity bills and work out other formalities.

Sources in the administration said, “Potters bake earthenware pots in kilns. Smoke generates from these furnaces. They were also not paying electricity bills. They were functioning beyond the permissible time, which was 8am and 5pm, till late at night.”

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