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Residents allege illegal sand extraction in B’la
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Residents allege illegal sand extraction in B’la

Wouldn’t allow any illegal activity, we take action: CE I&FC

Post by Syeda Rafiyah on Saturday, April 15, 2023

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Srinagar, Apr 14: The illegal sand extraction from river Jhelum continues in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district affecting the pristine glory of the river and its aquatic life.
Residents from different areas of Baramulla said that the illegal sand extraction from the river Jhelum is going unabated and the government is not doing anything in this regard.
Ishfaq Ahmad, a resident, said sand extraction continues in Juhama, Delina Ghat, Khadinyaar, Drangbal, Narathal, Sheeri and several other areas of the district.
The resident said in absence of proper regulations by the government, illegal mining is in full swing in these areas which is affecting north Kashmir’s fragile river ecosystem.
“This has been happening for the past so many years and nobody is controlling it and nothing is being done in this regard. This is a grave issue and unfortunately, the river is losing its sheen,” he said.
Similarly, a resident of Drangbal village said they have been observing that sand extraction continues in the area which has been criticized by the local residents several times.
“The sand extraction is affecting the river and aquatic life. When they dig the sand they dig it very deep leaving behind huge caves and it has hit the river,” he said.
The locals said that illegal practice has the potential to damage river embankments. In the longer run and make several low-lying areas in Baramulla and Sopore vulnerable to floods.
Similarly, residents from Pattan area also complained that illegal sand extraction is also rampant in the local water streams adding that there are no checks on it.
“The sand continues to be extracted in many areas here. At Singpora and Hanjiweera people are seen openly extracting the sand which is affecting the water bodies,” said Sajad Ahmad, from Pattan.
The illegal sand extraction has also affected the drinking water supply in the low lying areas and people also suffer due to contaminated water as the water pipes are connected with Jhelum.
Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Naresh Kumar said mining has been banned after 2014 floods. He said there are particular places where people use small boats and that doesn’t damage the river.
“From Asham to Sangam (the 90-kilometre river distance) the mining has been prohibited,” he said adding that they take action under the water Regulatory Act saying that curbing such an illegal practice is a multi-departmental approach.
“Once we get the complaints we make sure that we take action. Our officers and officials try to thwart such incidents. We are working with sincerity,” he said.
Regarding the illegal mining of sand in villages near tributaries in Baramulla, the CE said they keep on writing to the Geology and Mining Department to stop such practices.
“See mining if allowed should be done scientifically so that the water body is not damaged. We will not allow any illegal activity and we will take strict action,” he said.

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