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PostSubject: Respiratory illnesses on rise due to unsafe industries   Respiratory illnesses on rise due to unsafe industries Icon_minitimeSat Jan 16, 2010 3:01 am



Srinagar, Jan 15: The increasing number of cement factories and stone crushing units in Khrew, Wuyan and Khanmoh areas near the Saffron town of Pampore is causing serious health related problems to the inhabitants.
Locals say there had been a sharp increase of respiratory tract and chest diseases and the lone primary health unit in the area was failing to tackle the increasing health complicacies.
“Given the increasing number of stone crushing units and cement factories in the area, people often fall ill. The respiratory and lung diseases are common here,” locals said.
They said asthma was on rise and pregnant ladies were facing pre-mature abortions. “Doctors often suggest patients to wear face masks and avoid dust. Pregnant ladies and children are most affected by the cement dust.”
There are more than 30 stone crushers and six big cement factories in the Khrew-Wuyan belt which contribute immensely to the pollution in the area.
“These factories have spelt doom in the area and many new units are coming up. Government should not allow setting up of new units in the area and order the closure of the existing units which don’t comply with pollution control norms,” said Muhammad Younus of Wuyan.
The residents said that the lone community health centre at Khrew fails to deal with the patient rush as the primary health centre lacks basic infrastructure and manpower to deal with the increasing patient rush.
“There are no facilities available at the health unit. Every time a patient visits there, he is referred to Srinagar. Also there aren’t any doctors available at the centre after evening,” they said. “Given the increasing health complicacies, there should be a sub-district hospital in the area.”
They said the centre caters to a population of more than 40,000 people spread in over a dozen villages including Bathen, Zantral, Pokhribal, Gujjarnagar and Ladoo.
The PHC, according to locals, has been there for the past five decades. “It was never upgraded,” they said.
“Two years back when the then Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, visited J&K Cements Ltd., he had promised us that the health unit would be upgraded but it was never done,” said Ghulam Muhammad, a member of local Auqaf.
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