Bandipora, Mar. 14: The residents of S.K. Bala village in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district held a massive protest against the continuing ban on stone quarry works.
On Tuesday, hundreds of local workers, consisting of men, women, and children, blocked the Srinagar-Bandipora road for hours in S.K. Bala.
“They screamed slogans demanding justice and the revocation of the continuous ban on stone excavation by the government.”
“The move of the authorities had left us jobless and compelled our families to starve. Authorities rendered us jobless as for decades we have been associated with this work. “Now what art we can learn and will work”, said Abdul Rahim, a 56-year-old protester.
Protesters said they are being forced to migrate in search of jobs that will further burden their pockets. “If we have the option to earn next door, why does the government want us to migrate to other places in search of livelihood?” said a protesting youth.
“Our livelihood is being snatched. We all learn hand-to-mouth, and if the ban persists, where will we go? How would we feed our families?” asked a local woman, Gulshana.
A majority of the villagers at Saderkoot Bala are skilled stone carvers who have been left jobless due to the ban on stone queries.
The protestors appealed the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to listen to their genuine demands and lift the ban on stone quarries.
Pertinent to mention here the ban on stone quarrying in Jammu & Kashmir since 2016 has devastated thousands of households who relied on the business for a living.