Illegal sand extraction continues unabated in Hajin

Gowhar Maqbool

Hajin: The unabated illegal extraction of sand around the river Jhelum has severely damaged the embankments at many places in North Kashmir’s Hajin area.
As per reports, at some places the authorities had to impose section 144 to prevent further damage.
Residents of Hajin, Rakhi Hajin, Paribal and other adjoining areas accused the government of giving a free hand to the sand extractors. “It has become a mafia here now. The government has given a free hand to these people who continue to extract sand causing damage to the bridges and the embankments,” they said.
They said that further extraction may cause serious damage to the embankments and the bridges in the area. “The bridge at Banger Mohalla is about to collapse as the extraction around its base continues,” Zabir Ahmad, a local said.
The residents said that they brought the issue into the notice of the authorities, however, “no substantial action has been taken so far.”
“The authorities have failed to put a check on this illegal activity,” another local Aijaz Ahmad said.
Meanwhile, the authorities said that they are taking all possible measures to curb the illegal activity in the area. “We have imposed section 144 and no one will be allowed to extract sand in the area. Culprits will be brought to book if they violate the orders,” District Commissioner Shah Faisal told Kashmir Reader.
“It’s our responsibility to safeguard the embankments. I will look into the matter personally and the culprits will be booked soon,” he added.
He appealed locals to cooperate with the administration in nabbing the violators.