Mining, blasting reach forest fringe
Islamabad (Anantnag), Sep 25: Unabated mining and blasting for extraction of stones in this south Kashmir district has even reached the forest areas posing a major threat to the ecosystem besides disturbing the habitat of the wild animals.
Large scale stone quarrying is on even in the foot hills of Pir Panchal range in Qazigund, Lower Munda, and Verinag areas. It has even reached to the forest fringe.
“Laborers extract the stones form the forest fringe drastically affecting the Deodar and Kail trees which serve as a breeding ground for leopards and other wild animals,” residents of Qazigund told Greater Kashmir.
They said that the heavy blasting near the forest areas pushes the wild animals towards the residential areas. Besides, the blasting, they said, has also damaged the residential houses.
“The mining is going on beyond demarcation line. Due to stone extraction, the mountains have started disintegrating and developing large cracks,” said the residents of Lower Munda while demanding an immediate ban on the stone extraction in the area.
Residents of Verinag said that the due to the blasting of mountains many laborers have lost their lives in the stone quarries.
An official posted in Qazigund forest range while admitting that illegal mining was on in this area, expressed helplessness. “We had many a times expressed our concerns to the higher authorities regarding the issue. But since the lease holders have invested money in crores and have a political approach our pleas have always fallen into deaf ears. Even if we lodge a case against them nobody is going to listen to us,” the employee added.
He also blamed the Revenue department and demarcation wing of the Forest department for manipulating with the demarcated line and changing it for the benefit of the contractors.
The only way, he said the illegal mining can be stopped is that the lease system should be done away with.
Chief Conservator Forests, Manzoor Ahmad when contacted said, “The permission for mining is granted by Geology and Mining department on state land. As far as forest land is concerned mining is not allowed there. But since you have brought the issue into my notice I will definitely look into it.”
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 26 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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