Srinagar: Despite a blanket ban imposed by the J&K High Court to keep a check on the uncontrolled extraction of minerals from local rivers, Nallah Sindh, one of the main source of fresh water and favourable for the trout fish habitat, has been worst hit with Illegal extraction of sand and gravel going on unabated.
Locals alleged that there is nexus between fisheries department, Geology and Mining department and other concerned departments with those involved in illegal extraction and transportation of sand.
They said that on the long stretch of river Sindh from Sonamarg to Wayil number of laborers could be seen making the extractions from the river.
Locals said that the prized trout fish has declined due to illegal mining and people are making extractions illegally from the Nallah due to which the boundary walls have caved in at many spots.
“The mafia is using vehicles and heavy machinery to dig out the sand and gravel and the government is watching the vandalism helplessly,” said a local resident.
The high court had opined that illegal mining is also done in contravention of the mines and minerals development and regulation Act, 1957 and J&K Minor Mineral Concession Storage, Transportation of Minerals and Prevention of Illegal Mining Rules 2016 (SRO 1065 DATED (31.03.2016) and many relevant rulings of the Supreme Court and J&K High Court issued from time to time.
“Excessive in stream sand mining is a threat to bridges, river banks and nearby structures. Sand mining also affects the adjoining groundwater system and the uses that local people make of the river,” a science student told KNS.
He said that instream sand mining results in the destruction of aquatic and riparian habitat through large changes in the channel morphology. Impacts include bed degradation, bed coarsening, lowered water tables near the streambed, and channel instability. These physical impacts cause degradation of riparian and aquatic biota and may lead to the undermining of bridges and other structures. Continued extraction may also cause the entire streambed to degrade to the depth of excavation.
Sand mining generates extra vehicle traffic, which negatively impairs the environment.
Sources in the department said despite the ban, unabated mining was a regular phenomenon which had not only been causing a huge loss to state exchequer but also damaging strategic bridges, causing soil erosion and impacting the course of the river.
Locals have sought immediate attention of Governor Administration into this serious concern. (KNS)