Illegal sand extraction continues unabated in Pulwama

Illegal sand extraction continues unabated in Pulwama

Shabir Ahmad

Anantnag: Illegal sand extraction in the Jhelum continues unabated at many places in Pulwama district of South Kashmir.
Residents of Kandizal, Samboora, Patal bagh, Kakapora and Hatwari said that illegal sand extraction was going on on a large scale across these Villages and authorities “pay no attention to it.”
The residents said that hundreds of tons of sand are illegally dug out from the river bed each day. “Every day after 8:00 PM, dozens of tippers venture across the Jhelum banks loaded with the sand. These vehicles damage bunds that were laid post September-14 flood posing threat to residents living near embankments,” a resident of Kandizal told.
“We brought the issue into the notice of concerned authorities but despite assurances of action nothing has been done so far,” he said.
The mining and cutting of newly laid bunds on Jhelum is posing a threat to these villages which were badly hit in September floods, the residents said.
The extraction of sand not only causes loss to state mineral deposits but also changes the bed leveling of the river which could change its course in wake of a flood sitaution, an official of irrigation and flood control said.
He said that there is a proper system of digging minerals but they dug deep at a particular place that weakens the embankment at that place. The irrigation and flood control department should check this practice, he said.
“The irrigation and flood control department has to look into the matter as they are responsible for checking illegal extraction of sand in Jhelum. I will take up the matter with district authorities and would also seek police intervention in this regard,” said District general manager, geology and mining department, Showket Ahmad Shah, said.
He also told that they have instructed the field staff to identify the erring tipper drivers so that action would be taken against them.
When contacted assistant executive engineer IFC, Mohammad Altaf said that they had sent a team to the area few days ago to prevent the illegal extractors. “The team members were caught by erring tipper drivers and beat them mercilessly,” he said.