Hajin remains overcast with dust

IMRAN MUZAFFAR

Hajin (Sonawari), Jan 16: Sand is a ‘big problem’ in this north Kashmir town. Everyday when hundreds of vehicles zoom around carrying the substance extracted from the river Jhelum, clouds of dust hover over the environ affecting the life of residents here.
 Everyday dozens of tippers load just-dugout sand here, take the substance to other towns and come back for more. Over the years this continuing phenomenon has led to a gradual change in the environs of the town with over 50,000-population of the township remaining overcast with a dust that locals say is affecting their lives. “The environment of the town has degraded from bad to worse. The dust hovering over is affecting our lives from every side,” locals told Greater Kashmir. 
 “This floating dust is the outcome of excessive extraction of sand from river Jehlum,” Farooq Ahmad, a resident said. “It has not just affected the town’s environment, many health problems have also aroused out of this phenomenon particularly among children,” he added.
 Residents said school-going children have been falling prey to this ‘hazardous’ phenomenon in the town. “Almost all schools and coaching centers here are on the roadside and when the sand-carrying vehicles go past their environment also gets overcast with dust. And the underling result is health complaints from children like difficulty in respiration,” said Showkat Ahmed a teacher. 
 Traders of the town said the dust penetrates into their shops and contaminates bread, milk and medicines. “This is what we sell,” a shopkeeper said pointing to packets of medicine which were coated with dust. “And when we sell these medicines, nobody takes them. They say it is all contaminated. The fact is that we are weighed down by clouds of dust,” he added.
 “This is all because officials have given free hand to some influential people who employ laborers to extract sand from the Jehlum. The trend is assuming a dangerous proportion and it is affecting our daily life. Why are officials unmoved?” asks another trader.    
 This ‘excessive’ extraction of sand and round-the-clock movement of heavy vehicles, local say, is causing frequent traffic jams. “Although government directive makes it clear that heavy vehicles must not ply during day time, the orders are brazenly violated here. The interesting thing is that there is no one to check it,” says the President of local Traders Federation, Muhammad Muzaffar. “In this town people stay dusty and eat dusty,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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