Plunder of sand, boulders from Anantnag’s Brengi Nallah continues unabated

Anantnag: Despite several media reports, and right under the nose of the authorities, an entrenched mafia has been plundering the Brengi Nallah and some other water bodies in Dialgam area of Anantnag district, extracting boulders, sand and other minerals using heavy machinery.
The unchecked plunder has left hundreds of kanals of farmland as well as orchards dry and disfigured. The heavy machinery being used is also increasing the depth of the nallah, preventing the water from reaching where it is necessary for irrigation.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that the illegal extraction, being carried out despite a ban by the Geology and Mining department, is taking place mainly near Sadoora Bridge, Larkipora Bridge, and Laalan Birdge in the Dialgam area of Anantnag district.
The locals, dependent on the water of Brengi Nallah for their farming, told Kashmir Reader that the extraction has been going on relentlessly and a nexus is in place, whereby officials get their palms greased and the mafia brazenly continues flouting the law.
“There are three stone crushers in the area, all of which need boulders. So, there is a market for boulders as well as for sand,” a local told Kashmir Reader.
He said that hundreds of kanals of paddy land and orchards have turned dry, as the half-a-kilometer stretch of the Brengi Nallah was all there was for irrigation of the farmland.
“We have been pleading before the authorities to put an end to this menace, but to no avail. They take some cosmetic measures during the day, like seizing some machinery, but the mafia is back as soon as it gets dark to continue the extraction,” locals alleged.
A source in the Anantnag district administration acknowledged that the mafia cannot run without a tacit understanding with the official machinery. “It is not possible to run this kind of illegal activity if officials are not kept in the “good books”,” the source said.
Kashmir Reader talked to the District Manager (DM), Geology and Mining Department, for Anantnag, Zulfiqar Muhammad Shafi, who maintained that he was monitoring the situation on regular basis.
“Only a few days back we seized six bulldozers and even today we conducted raids at many places,” Shafi said, adding that it is difficult to keep a check during the night hours.
“We are taking every possible measure to curb the menace. Hopefully, we will be able to eradicate this,” Shafi told Kashmir Reader.

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