|Illegal extraction of sand, boulders continues unabated in Budgam areas|
|S Tahir-ul Haq|
Early Times Report
BUDGAM, Mar 24: Despite ban, illegal extraction of sand and boulders from rivers and streams is going unabated in various parts of Budgam district, and authorities seems in deep slumber.
From the past many weeks, illegal extraction of sand and boulders in various parts of Budgam district including Beerwah, Kundoora, Arizal, Khag, Waterhail, Makhama, Magam and other areas of the district is going on , said local residents of Beerwah.
They said that dozens of tractors and tippers were seen stripping the streams that passe through Airzal and Khag during night hours, but the authorities watch like mute spectators. "Earlier the High Court and district authorities had put a ban on illegal extraction of sand and boulders from rivers, nullahs but the ban was not seriously implemented anywhere in this district, as the drivers hardly bother about the bans and all", local resident of Airzal told early times. Local resident said that, "Arizal, Kanegund and other areas close to the stream/nullahs witnesses the physical movement of tractors during night hours that are transporting the sand and boulders to the nearby villages. After heated arguments with the drivers over illegal extraction of sand and boulders, they said that tractor drivers are doing this whole process of extraction and they have nothing to do with them, said sources.
Sources said that, due to illegal sand extraction from nullahs and rivers it causes a lot of alterations to the physical characteristics of both river and riverbeds, adding the illegal extraction of boulders has become a daily issue for the local masses. The extraction of sand has resulted in the erosion of the river banks and it will increase more chances of floods and causing a severe threat to biodiversity.
Another local resident of Kundoora said that, last time some concrete steps were taken by the government to control illegal sand mining, in which they had directed the tehsildars to conduct raids, and to seize the vehicles carrying sand and boulders from the nullahs, but neither the raids were conducted nor the vehicles were seized so for.
If the sand mafia had been allotted licenses or lease for some period, that needs a renewal of lease for continuing the practice, otherwise it should be stopped at an earliest without any wastage of time, said local resident.