CM meets tribals in Birbhum stone quarries

TNN, Aug 1, 2010, 02.21am IST

SURI: Stone quarries and crushing units won't be allowed to operate the way it used to be. The state government will impose certain conditions on the quarry owners to minimise the hazards, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said in Birbhum on Saturday after a meeting with the stakeholders. Most of the quarry labourers in the area are tribals.

The CM took the initiative to sort out the continuing strife in the quarries and stone crushing units under Mohammed Bazar block. He reached there amid tight security because the government got inputs from intelligence agencies that some Maoist cadres have infiltrated into this area. But the threat did not come in the way of Bhattacharjee's meeting the tribals, which he did possibly with an eye on the coming assembly polls.

Bhattacharjee went to Mohammed Bazar by road and reached there around 12.15 pm. He held talks with the 17-member adivasi delegation from the stone belt. Representatives of stone crushers and miners handed over a memorandum to the chief minister during the talks that lasted for 45 minutes. Bhattacharjee later held meetings with district officials, people's representatives and senior police officers at the Suri Circuit House.

Tribal representatives were happy to meet the CM, but were not sure about the outcome. "We are happy to meet the chief minister. He came here to listen to our demands. We have narrated our plight in the stone belt in details. He assured us that the government won't allow illegal crusher or mines to operate. Owners have been asked to submit relevant documents," a tribal said.

Najir Hossain Mallik, the president of stone crushers and owners' association said: "We hope the deadlock will end soon. We have asked our members to follow government rules. The chief minister assured us that there will be no problem to run the business if we follow the rules."

The CM, however, did not say when the units will resume operation. Asked whether they will start operations Sunday, he said: "No. It will take some time. Stone quarries and crusheres have to change the way they have been operating so far. They have to satisfy certain rules and conditions."

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