Illegal sand mining in Kupwara under the nose of authorities

The government’s Geology and Mining Department has allowed sand extraction at some designated points but some private companies continue with their illegal ways to maximise profits.

MUZAMIL SHAH
Kupwara, Publish Date: Jan 13 2019 1:52AM | Updated Date: Jan 13 2019 1:52AM
Illegal sand mining in Kupwara under the nose of authoritiesGK Photo

Despite a ban by Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Kupwara district administration is allowing sand and bajri excavation from Mawar Nallah by influential people who continue to deploy earthmoving machines at the riverbed, locals allege.

Illegal sand mining has been going on in several parts of northern Kashmir including Mawar Nallah, but residents allege the authorities were looking the other way.

The government’s Geology and Mining Department has allowed sand extraction at some designated points but some private companies continue with their illegal ways to maximise profits. 

“We are fed up with this issues and many times conveyed to the concern officials, but it seems they are helping them (sand extractors),” said Mushtaq Ahmad of Mawer.

“And due to the illegal sand extraction the area is now become vulnerable to flooding .”

Earlier, a team led by Additional Deputy Commissioner Handwara Muzaffar Ahmad Peer visited various spots along the Nallah and seized stone crushers, JCBs, tractors and other machinery deployed for carrying out illegal sand extraction.

However, as soon as the local official leave the place sand extraction begins again, locals complain.

Residents allege the district authorities inspect only once a month during the day and that too after informing the sand extractors beforehand.

“It is surprising that just before any officials visit the site the extractors leave the spot,” a resident alleged.

The illegal sand extraction causes low flow of water in Mawar Nallah affecting farmers whose agriculture fields depend on irrigation from it.

An official of the Geology and Mining department told Greater Kashmir that they were regularly visiting the site and have also seized many vehicles.

Managing Director of the department in Kupwara, Dr Ghulam Din Bhat said, “we are visiting the site every day and also seize many JCB and tippers but they are still violating the rules and they are extracting the sand in the odd hours.”

Deputy Commissioner Kupwara, Khalid Jahangir said some of the locals who complained about the illegal sand mining were themselves extracting sand from the Nallah.

“They have made a way inside the Nallah when we try to catch them they flee,” Jahangir said.

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