All crusher owners in Pathankot sub-division on Sunday declared a shutdown of their units to build pressure on the state and central governments.
The move is likely to further shoot the prices of the building material which are already too high. The owners claimed that they would now operate their units when the state government and the Centre declared relaxation in the sudden imposition of tough rules.
A large number of owners on Sunday sat on a dharna in the labour shed where they chalked out a strategy under which they would meet the Pathankot deputy commissioner and mining GM on Monday morning.
The members also declared blocking of national highways; a few even threatened suicide if relaxation was not given to their units which, they claimed, were already under heavy debt.
Vijay Passi, president of the crusher owners' industry, said that rather than acting against illegal mining, the state and central governments were targeting crusher owners who were procuring raw material from the neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh after shelling out heavy prices.
He said that they had repeatedly shown the bills and mining slips issued by the J&K contractors but it seemed the government was set to uproot the industry which fed nearly five lakh people in this sub-division.
He said the crusher owners were suffering due to the tiff between the Centre and the state government as the Centre was not issuing clearance to the khuds, which were auctioned and were ready with the material, in the name of environmental clearance. If these khuds were transferred to the contractors and the auction of new khuds was done, then there would not be any scarcity of mining material and hence it would stop illegal mining, he claimed.
Already many units were shut down in Mirthal and Haryal belt and the new rules would shut all the units, he said. He wondered if it would not cause scarcity of building material which was needed even in the development works started by the state and the Centre. "We have decided not to operate all our units and from Sunday morning no unit is functioning and no material is taken from J&K and HP, which will continue till we get justice," he said.