Friday, August 8, 2014

Illegal Quarry and Crushing Units Seized; BJP Block Road Protesting

Illegal Quarry and Crushing Units Seized; BJP Block Road Protesting

We have Evidence of Illegal Quarrying: DC

Stone Crushing Units and Quarries found operating illegally in South Andaman District were seized by the Deputy Commissioner South Andaman after conducting raids. The units along with eight trucks and three excavators were seized in two different raids conducted by a team led by the Sub Divisional Magistrate on 28th July and 1st Aug. 2014.

While two trucks were fined under Mines & Minerals Act and released after production of the Transit Permit, the remaining vehicles are still under the custody of the Dy. Commissioner.  

The raids were initiated by the Dy. Commissioner South Andaman after complaints were received regarding the illegal operation. The seizure has led to much hue & cry among the community involved in the business, which is backed by Bharatiya Janata Party now.

Protesting the action taken by the Deputy Commissioner South Andaman, the BJP functionaries along with the effected party, led by Deepak Jha, State BJP General Secretary today blocked the road in front of DC Office, demanding release of the seized property.

“These people have Patta Lands in their names. They had parked their vehicles in their own land, which is cannot be illegal”, said Deepak Jha, General Secretary. “Their vehicles were seized without any intimation. The Dy. Commissioner has no right to do so”, he added.

Jha further said that the affected party have patta lands where crushing unit were in operation. But these units have not been functioning for months yet case was made against them for illegal operation.

“Even if it is illegal operation, why should someone run around for days together to get their seized vehicles released? Fine can be imposed and their vehicles released. There is no point in holding their vehicles”, Jha concluded.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner South Andaman, Mr. Jawahar IAS cleared that all the vehicles and excavators that have been seized were from the site where illegal quarry and crushing were found in operation. “We have evidence”, he said.

Jawahar said that intensive campaign was launched by the Sub Divisional Magistrate and team for a week after complaints were received from various quarters of the civil society. It was later decided in a meeting to crackdown on these illegal operations.

“After ascertaining the facts and gathering evidences, the sites along with 3 Excavators and 8 Trucks were seized where illegal quarry and crushing units were in operation. Among the 8 Trucks seized, the drivers of two trucks were found not in possession of the ‘Transit Permit’ issued by the DC Office, although the Permit was issued to them. They were fined under the Mines & Minerals Act, which amounts to double the market price of the product and later released”, Jawahar added.

‘Transit Permits are issued by the Deputy Commissioner’s Office to transport quarry products, which is valid for one day. It is also mandatory for the drivers of the vehicles to carry the permit while transporting these products. This is in accordance to the Mines & Minerals Act”, Jawahar said.

Jawahar also mentioned that there are two groups involved in illegal quarry and stone crushing operations. “We used to catch them but it was in a sporadic manner”, he said.

The DC, South Andaman added by stating that he is awaiting detailed reports after which stern action will be taken according to the Law.

By curbing the illegal quarry operations, DC South Andaman has shown courage to touch a sensitive nerve and taken the nexus head on, which surely is going to create ripples.

The quarry operators is a strong and powerful lobby having both political and financial clout. It cannot be discounted that it will take things lying down. However, the villagers can finally heave a collective sigh of relief with the stern action by DC. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mass Hysteria over Sickness in City Schools

Mass Hysteria over Sickness in City Schools
Students Discharged after Screening and Observation at GB Pant Hospital

Today, GB Pant Hospital was flooded with hundreds of school children complaining of fever, vomiting sensation and in a few cases loose motion. Around 80 students were detained and kept under observation. 
“All the detained students have been sent home after check up and observation, as there is nothing to worry,” Dr Paul, Director, Health Services informed. “Only five students who still suffer from vomiting and high fever have been detained and kept under observation.
Meanwhile, DHS also assured all support to the parents and informed them to contact the Centralized Ambulance Service by dialling 102 in case of any emergency.
Around 9.30 am today, a few students of Govt Middle School, Junglighat who complained of sickness were evacuated to GB Pant Hospital. Soon, many more students started complaining of sickness after mid-day meals were served. Simultaneously, a few students from GDMS, Middle Point also developed similar symptoms. The school authorities immediately called the ambulance services and started shifting students to the hospital.
Prompt action by a team of Doctors and Specialists helped contain the situation.
The authorities informed that the causes of the sickness are yet to be ascertained. Speaking to LOA, a senior specialist from GB Pant Hospital informed that one single cause cannot be attributed as students have reported various reasons. 
The possible reasons as reported by the students and parents could be DPT vaccination and iron tablets administered to the children in the school. However, ANI Admn in a communication informed that over 200 children had received the vaccination and only 13 such children reported fever.
Parents of children also alleged food poisoning as also one of the possible reasons. Meanwhile, doctors said that viral fever due to inclement weather conditions cannot be ruled out. 
Earlier, a situation report issued by the Deputy Commissioner, South Andaman, said that there was heavy flow of children as parents who had picked their children from school were also bringing them to hospital for medical screening. However, there was nothing to panic and their condition were found to be out of danger,” he said.
The hospital authorities acted promptly and made arrangements for a makeshift ward for the affected children. Rina Ray, Chief Secretary (i/c) visited the hospital and took stock of the situation. 
V K Maryam Bibi, Adhyaksha, ZP, SA had also volunteered to visit the concerned school, District Control Room and extended all cooperation to bring the situation to normalcy.
As a precautionary measure samples of food and water have been lifted from the schools which will be sent for testing in the Food Laboratory at mainland. The Chief Secretary has also directed the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to conduct an inquiry into this incident. 
“Food samples of mid-day meal, water samples etc. have been collected and are being sent for testing in Chennai in the absence of Food Testing Lab in the Islands. We are looking into all possibilities and trying to find out the reason,” Dr Paul said.