Illegal mining in Kulgam threatens lives, authorities in deep slumber

by Hikmat yar


Residents of Ashmuji area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district expressed concern over the illegal mining on the river Vishew by some influential people of the area.

Locals accused officials of Irrigation and Flood Control Department of being hand in gloves with miners that allows them to carry out extraction at various spots on the river.

A local resident said that due to illegal mining, the area has become vulnerable to floods. “From last five months these mining mafias are jeopardizing the lives of the residents and its adjacent areas,” he said.

Locals said that these extractors start their work in the evening till midnight, using men and heavy machinery by mining sand plus gravel and then transporting the same in daylight.

The resident said people of the area were happy to see the government taking initiative to strengthening the embankments of the river in their area after 2014 floods. However illegal sand mining has jeopardized the efforts of government.

“Instead of taking into consideration the disastrous floods of 2014 and the quantum of damage to the surrounding areas the authorities are totally mute and are waiting to enjoy the time when our whole area will be washed by floods,” said locals.

“Most of us are educated but jobless. To come from this depression we started to work in the area by manually extracting sand and selling the same to fulfill our needs. Unfortunately, from last five months, we are now workless as the elite people of the area have used big machines for extraction of sand. With this we are in an economic depression,” said a local youth.

JCB while extracting boulders from Vishew river Kulgam.

Despite assurances from authorities that it would be stopped, they failed to stop illegal mining and allowing violators to use heavy machines. The residents appealed concerned authorities several times to conduct the on-spot inspection to know the scale of mining and impacts on the adjacent areas but that never happened, said residents of village Ashmuji.

Talking to Kashmir life, Deputy commissioner Kulgam Sajad Hussain Ganai said that before he took over, the tenders for mining work were already issued by the authorities and the work has been divided into blocks if the residents have some problem they will work on that to solve their problem.


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