Uses and Curses of Cement Factories

Uses and Curses of cement factories
Gowher Bhat

Nearly thirteen miles from Srinagar City, there are seven Cement factories in KHREW Kashmir. The names of the factories are under JK Cement, HK Cement, Max Cement, Cemtac Cement, ICC Cement, Arco Cement and Valley Cement. The neighboring vicinities are KHREW, Batina, and Ladoo. Families who live in these localities work in the factories and benefit from the industry.

They are holding positions such as, managers, receptionists, technical support, and laborers who load and unload the bags of cement, gravel, and sand. Fourteen-hundred trucks are affiliated with these factories, and the truck owners are employees of KHREW, Batina, and Ladoo locations. They earn a substantial income, and part of the reason is that the factories are far away from the central city — almost 80% “who live nearby, work in these factories for earning their livelihood.” I interviewed many people, and mostly they said they are grateful for the jobs.

However, there is a severe drawback; they say there are problems with air pollution, the dust that these factories produce are uncontrollable. The environmental issues are causing people to suffer from chest infections, eye infections, and viral infections. They can’t seem to get away from it; it’s on their roofs, the walls, floors, in their homes. The dust gets onto their clothes and deposits on their food. Some people told me we are not against the business, but this is becoming a severe problem. In other states of India, they have the same industry, but there is environmental control, and they use updated machinery and technology to produce less dust.

Why can’t Kashmir’s cement factories invest in proper equipment and help the people and the air quality? Complaints were made to higher authorities about this, but no one paid heed to these issues. What makes it worse is that roads are in shambles, there are potholes, and broken asphalt, that causes a lot of dust and debris when the trucks ride through them. The government should help fix these roadways, being that fourteen-hundred heavy trucks are driving through them every day.

On a personal note, although I’m glad the people can support their families on the income they earn in these factory jobs. It’s was disturbing how much dust and dirt collected on my skin, clothes, and shoes., my eyes burned, and I started coughing while I visited. There is no reason for this. The cement factories are a billion-dollar Industry. They should take care of the environmental issues and invest in updated machinery to assure people stay healthy.

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