Shopian: The illegal soil extraction goes on unchecked in Wachi area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district and authorities do not pay heed to complaints forwarded by the people.
The residents of Darbagh, Wachi, Aglar and Zainapora allege that the inaction of the authorities resulted in the massive extraction of land at several places in the area. They said that land extraction process is going on since more than a month but authorities are in a slumber.
Locals said that soil extracting mafia is in league with corrupt officials who allow them to violate the laws so brazenly.
Mohsin Ahmad, a resident from the area said that scores of tractors and bulldozers can be seen laden with soil from the Karewa and ferrying it to different places. “We raised the issue with the concerned department many times but they showed no interest to initiate action against the violators,” the residents said.
The soil mafias, according to residents, are using men and machinery round the clock to extract the soil in the area and are utilizing the soil in paddy fields to convert them into apple orchards.
“The soil lifted from grazing lands at different places is being used to fill the Abi-Awal (paddy) land in other areas in violation of various Acts. The conversion of soil also creates environmental hazard,” the locals said, accusing the revenue, geology and mining officials of watching the act as ‘mute spectators’.
Residents from the area said that the heavy rush of tractors carrying extracted soil have caused potholes in the roads everywhere. The roads are dusty everywhere due to the soil scattered by lorries and tractors, they said.
Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident of Litter told Kashmir Reader that the unscrupulous people have damaged the banks of river and in heavy rains there were more chances of flood due to damaging embankments.
Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Shopian, Parvaiz Sajad Ganie told Kashmir Reader that he will seek a report from the sub-district magistrate Zainapora in this regard.
“I will call him right now and action will be taken against the violators, if found,” he said. He said that action will also be taken against the people who have damaged the river embankments.