Tehsildar acknowledges, says transporters carved out new route to move the trucks
PAMPORE: While the world was celebrating World Health Day on Wednesday, soil-mining mafia was busy damaging the earth’s health in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, where the valley’s unique Karewa land was being pillaged in broad daylight at Samboora region in Kakapora.
Locals of Samboora told Kashmir Reader that every day, a bee-line of tippers (load carrier vehicles) is seen loading soil and transporting it to different destinations.
“There has been no check in the illegal soil extraction on state land, although a blanket ban prevails on Karewa soil extraction,” said a local resident, adding that revenue officials were hand-in-glove with the mining mafia.
Other residents told Kashmir Reader that vested interests are behind the illegal extraction of Karewa soil, not just at Samboora but in many other areas.
“The soil mafia has been transporting this soil to different contractors who are carrying out government works in different areas of the district,” said sources, reiterating that the soil extraction being carried out over large areas could not be possible without the blessings of the administration.
Residents said that the soil extraction was not only damaging the land but also posing a threat to a recently constructed school building. They also complained of facing constant disturbance due to the scores of tippers, JCBs and bulldozers moving about.
As per Section 133-A of J&K Land Revenue Act, excavation of Karewa soil for personal gains is banned.
Advocate Nadeem Qadri, Amicus Curiae appointed by High Court of J&K on this matter of soil extraction, expressed serious concern over the illegal excavation on state land at Samboora and other areas of Pampore.
“I am very disturbed to know about the illegal extraction of soil going on at Samboora, which is a very rich land for saffron cultivation. The Hon’ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has on many occasions banned this illegal practice. I as an environmental lawyer appeal to the Hon’ble Governor of J&K to ban all illegal extraction of soil across Kashmir Valley, as these Kerawas are a geological repository and should not be disturbed,” Qadri said,.
When contacted, Tehsildar, Kakapora, Sheikh Javaid Ahmad acknowledged that illegal extraction of Karewa soil is going on in Aluchi Bagh Samboora.
He told Kashmir Reader that soon after it was learnt that soil extraction was being carried out at Samboora, he sent a team of officials to the site.
“It is a reality that the Karewa land was being damaged by some vested interests. Earlier, we had cut off the road (used to transport the soil),” he said, adding that the transporters have carved out a new route to move their trucks.
He said that persons involved would be identified and an FIR lodged against them.