Illegal sand extraction from Jhelum continues in Baramulla, admin in slumber

“It can weaken river embankments, increase flood vulnerability’
Representational Image
Representational Image

The illegal sand extraction from river Jhelum continues unabated in this northern district of Kashmir.

Experts cautioned theillegal practice has the potential to damage river embankments. This can inturn make several low-lying areas including Jahama, Chakla, Ladoora, Sheeri andDelina as well many areas of apple town Sopore vulnerable to floods.

"Every day scores of loadcarriers transport the sand illegally extracted from the river to the markets.The authorities are not bothered to put an end to this practice which is beingcarried out in broad daylight," said Ghulam Hassan, a resident of Drangbal."This illegal trade has now grown into a mafia."

The Irrigation and Flood Control division Baramulla hadprocured two dredgers in 2012 to carry out dredging of the water bodydownstream to minimize chances of flood in upstream areas.

The department sold the extracted sand for more than Rs 14crore, an official said.

At the same time, he said, the department has filed more than40 cases against people involved in illegal sand extraction.

"Nobody knows about the fate of those cases. The action inthe cases could have served as deterrent and prevented the illegal practice,"said the official.

He said since August 5 –the day Article 370 of Constitution was abrogated – people involved in theillegal practice have taken advantage of the prevailing situation and wereextracting the sand unhindered from the river beds.

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