ILLEGAL STONE QUARRIES IN BARAMULLA FOREST
Farmer uses RTI to know the status of affected land
Srinagar, Aug 21: A farmer in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district has filed an application under Right to Information Act to know the status of the land being affected by the quarries in the Kandi Range.
Shabir Ahmad, 40, a farmer of Bonapora Harwan in Sopore filled an RTI application in the office of Chief Conservator of Forest Kashmir province on May 20 asking him status of the land being affected by the quarries in Compartment 23 in Harwan Block of Kandi Range.
After nearly two months (July 29) Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Kamraj Forest Division replied to his query. “A high level committee was constituted and DFO Demarcation Division (DFODD) Srinagar was asked to verify the status of the affected land,” the DFO replied. “As per the report furnished by the committee and the DFODD, the stone quarries of Harwan Village were found to come under the demarcated forest land and steps are being taken to stop the illegal activity of quarrying in the area.”
Shabir who has his land in the way of the quarries was annoyed by the increasing ‘illegal’ activities of the land. “It was affecting my land and the precious forest land”, he said.
He said over 500 kanal of land in the Harwan village was directly affected by the ‘illegal’ quarrying.
“We talked to Geology and Mining Department about the problem and then wrote to the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla about it”, the DFO Kamraj Forest Division, Muhammad Siddique said. “We sought the help of police and closed down over 22 illegal quarries which were operating in the foothills of Kandi forest range.”
The officer said the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla was also informed about the case. “However the owners are trying to start the work again. To stop the illegal practice once for all we need support from every quarter including the law enforcing agencies,” he said.
“We have made it clear to the Geology and Mining Department and the Court that the stone quarrying is a non-forest activity and cannot be allowed within the demarcated forest under Forest Conservation Act and Honorable Apex Court’s Order,” Siddique said.
The issue of illegal stone quarries in the Kandi Range had come to fore in 2003. The then Chief Engineer and Superintendent Engineer Roads and Building Baramulla had raised questions about these quarries.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 21 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 21 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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