The Punjab cabinet on Wednesday approved action plan for conversion of natural brick kilns to induced draft brick kilns with rectangular shape and zigzag brick setting by Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.
Brick kilns have been given September 30 deadline to make the conversion.
The step has been taken to check air pollution in non-attainment cities and towns with worse air quality in line with the directions of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The proposed directions stipulate that kilns within non-attainment cities not be allowed to operate in pursuance of directions issued by the CPCB on July 1, 2016; no new brick kiln will be allowed to be set up in the state without having induced draft technology with zigzag setting; and no conventional brick kiln with natural draft technology be allowed to operate beyond September 30, 2019.
As many as 482 brick kilns have already shifted to new technology and 559 are shifting to induced draft technology, as per the the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.
Around 2,800 brick kilns are operating in the state and producing around 15-20 billion bricks per annum, which constitutes to about 8% of total production of the country.
In the conversion process, kilns are required to pay environmental compensation on the basis of ‘polluter pays principle’ to the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) with effect from February 1 till the adoption of induced draft technology.
The compensation has been fixed at Rs 25,000 per month for kiln of zigzag setting of capacity over 30,000 bricks per day, and Rs 20,000 per month for kiln of capacity less than 30,000 bricks per day.
It would be PPCB’s duty to ensure that brick kilns operate in compliance with the code of practice prescribed by it and the CPCB.
The state department of science and technology, through Punjab state council for science and technology, would provide necessary technical assistance for implementation of the action plan.