Authorities dismally fail to prevent illegal mineral extraction in southern Kashmir

Locals allege non-seriousness on the part of Geology and Mining Department’s employees, who have not taken any concrete measures to stop the illegal mineral extraction.

Locals claim that the Department of Geology and Mining has failed utterly in its efforts to prohibit illegal mineral extraction from numerous streams and rivers in southern Kashmir’s Anantnag and Pulwama districts.

The locals in the area informed Digpu News that the department has failed badly in checking and stopping unlawful mineral extraction, particularly during the night hours, when hundreds of Tippers, Dumpers, Tractors, and JCBs are involved for the same.

Losses worth crores to state exchequer

They complained that this illegal practice, which is ripping the economy and the state exchequer off crores of rupees, has been going on for some time in several areas of southern Kashmir, notably Anantnag and Pulwama, but the relevant department prefers to remain silent.

Authorities dismally fail to prevent illegal mineral extraction in southern Kashmir
A view of Rambi Ara, a river and tributary to the River Jhelum flowing through Shopian and Pulwama districts

The local people stated that the unauthorized extraction is taking place in the Nallahs of Larkipora and Sadoora in Anantnag district throughout the night, which means that the culprits get easy access and no confrontation with Geology and Mining department’s employees.

No action taken despite several reports of illegal mineral extraction

It is in place to mention here that Geology and Mining Department in Larkipora maintains that the report concerning the unauthorized extraction had been sent several times to the District Office in Anantnag, but that no action had been taken so far.

Locals claim that illicit mineral mining occurs during the daytime as well, notably on Sundays and Fridays, at Dogripora, Sangam, Bijbehara, Larkipora, and Akura, along the Jhelum River.

Authorities dismally fail to prevent illegal mineral extraction in southern Kashmir
A Tipper transporting boulders

Such complaints have also been received from the Pulwama district as well. People from Arigam and Bandzoo villages have also been asking the authorities to enforce the ban on the unauthorized extraction of minerals.

People said that their orchards and fields have been damaged by the ‘elements involved in the illegal extraction’ for the last many years.

Allegation of nexus between employees and culprits behind illegal mineral extraction

They claimed that the concerned department’s field and supervisory employees have a nexus with the culprits, which is why no action is taken. However, some mining supervisors say that they began filing FIRs against those involved in illicit mineral extraction, but that no action was taken even then.

Meanwhile, environmental experts have voiced grave concern about the devastating impacts of some entrenched groups’ illicit activity, claiming that it would have significant repercussions since it will disrupt the natural ecological balance and flora and fauna.

Moreover, residents have petitioned the Lieutenant Governor and higher officials to investigate the matter and put an end to the illicit trade so that future generations can appreciate the natural environment and ecosystem.

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