Saturday , 26 May 2018
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Jehlum Embankments under threat: Unlicensed sand diggers play ghost to continue illegal sand extraction

Pulwama, Jan 13, CNS: Locals from different hamlets of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district Friday alleged that in gross violation of court orders, sand mafias in nexus with some officials from Irrigation and Flood Control Department are illegally extracting sand in the Jhelum at many places despite a ban on sand extraction across the State.

    They said that authorities have miserably failed to curb the movement of machines and vehicles into the Jhelum for extraction of sand, resulting in weakening of the embankments and increasing the threat of floods.

   Residents of Kandizal, Samboora, Patal Bagh, Kakapora and Hatiwar told news agency CNS that amid chill illegal sand mining has been going on unabated across the villages.

   “Movement of vehicles and other machinery employed for the extraction of sand weakens the fragile banks and poses threat to the villages,” said Abdul Ahad, a resident of Kandizal. He alleged that dozens of tippers venture into the Jhelum during the nights to load sand.

    “We have every reason to believe that Assistant Executive Engineer I&FC Kakapora is hand in glove with Sand Mafia and he is paving ground for them for such illegal acts,” said the locals appealing Chief Engineer I&FC to look into the matter.

 “We brought the issue into the notice of the authorities concerned but despite assurances to initiate action against the erring persons, nothing has been done on the ground,” they said.

   “FIRs against illegal sand extractors should be lodged and their mechanical boats, JCB’s and tippers should be seized so that such illegal activities will be prevented to safeguard the embankments of the Jhelum,” the locals demanded.

    Despite repeated attempts Assistant Executive Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control, Mohammad Altaf could not be contacted, however, an official said that department had instructed the field staff to identify the erring tipper drivers and JCB owners so that action could be taken against them. He claimed that a few days ago some erring drivers thrashed some employees from the department when they tried to stop them. (CNS)