Soil excavation on Pampore saffron fields goes unabated

Soil excavation on Pampore saffron fields goes unabated
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Chief agriculture officer acts against violators; confiscates vehicles, bulldozer

Pampore: The agriculture department on Monday swung into action against illegal soil excavation at saffron field Pampore in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Chief Agriculture Officer, Pulwama Mohammad Yousuf Shah confiscated many vehicles and a bulldozer from persons involved in the illegal excavation soil from the saffron land.
Chief Agriculture Officer Pulwama, Mohammad Yousuf Shah told Kashmir Reader that “despite calling telephonically various law enforcement agencies no one came to the spot to seize the machines of violators”.
He told Kashmir Reader that he would personally intervene in these violations and would deal against any such violation strictly.
He told Kashmir Reader that he has lodged an FIR in the incident against the violators and has reported the same to his higher ups.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad Dar told Kashmir Reader that he has directed Law enforcement agencies and agricultural officials to “keep a vigil on the activities of the violators and take decisive action against those involved”.
He said he would be very tough against those violating the ban on conversion of saffron land and would “implement the ban in letter and spirit during his tenure”.
Conversion of saffron land is banned in the state of Jammu and Kashmir but the ban has usually not been implemented as violations have been reported from various villages to which law enforcement agencies have been turning a blind eye.
Meanwhile, civil society and senior citizens of Pampore and adjoining areas have expressed serious concern over illegal soil excavation at Galander and other areas of Pampore saffron fields where world famous saffron is cultivated.
The civil society members told Kashmir Reader that the soil excavation was not only deforming the landscape in the area but “posed threat to saffron production”.
The cultivation land is shrinking at an alarming rate.
Civil society members appealed Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Pulwama and police officials to “look into the matter”.
Sources told Kashmir Reader that the contractors who use JCB’s and bulldozers and dozens of tippers in broad daylight can be seen excavating soil in Pampore and “land mafia has been supplying this soil to contractors in Lasjan area of Srinagar”.
They alleged that officials concerned did not take any action against this mafia to save the land.