The residents of South Kashmir’s Shopian district Wednesday alleged that the illegal sand, stone, boulders and gravel extraction goes unabated in Ranbi Ara Nallah here while the authorities are acting as mute spectator, as they are taking no action against them.
The residents of various Shopian villages here have expressed resentment against the authorities and demanded immediate action against the ‘vested interest elements’ who according to them resort to illegal extraction of sand, stone, boulders and gravel from Ranbi Ara.
Notably, Ranbi Ara has its origin from Pir Panchal Mountains and is famous for its fish production.
The river passes through many villages of Shopian district and joins the River Jhelum near Sangam.
The villagers told ‘Kashmir Vision’ that the illegal extraction of sand, stone, boulders and gravel at Turkwangam, Sugan, Heff, Aglar, Wachi and its adjoining villages is going on since 2014 deluge hit Kashmir.
They said that the extraction of the material is posing a threat to the embankments of the river and the aquatic life.
“Government has failed to monitor the area and take action against the offenders,” Ashiq Ahmad from Turkwangam village told ‘Kashmir Vision’.
Locals said that some time back, the water of the river was very pure after such kind of happenings, the water has got polluted. “It has been polluted by unscrupulous elements and government is in slumber. Tipper and tractor owners have looted this river as they are extracting stones, gravel and sand from the river without any authorization from the government,” the villagers alleged.
Muzamil Ahmad, a resident of Sugan village said that the extraction has resulted in decline of fish production.
They said that unfortunately, the authorities in Irrigation and Flood Control department have failed to take any appropriate action against the illegal extractors despite knowing the facts.
District Mineral Officer Shopian, Naseer Ahmad told ‘Kashmir Vision’ that the illegal extraction of sand, stone sand other things are going on due to the lack of coordination between I&FC department, fisheries department and Geology and Mining department.
However, he added that the department has already filed many cases against the offenders in this regard.