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"Mitti mafia" operates near DC Office
Budgam Karewas face extinction
5/17/2016 11:25:08 PM

Early Times Report

Budgam, May 17: As the illegal soil excavation continues to destroy Karewas of Budgam , the authorities especially the district administration seems to be least bothered to initiate a crackdown against the "mitti mafia" (soil excavators ) who are now operating from several areas of Budgam; few of them located just a kilometer away from the Deputy Commissioner's office (DC Office), the Karewas of central Kashmir's Budgam district which locally called "Wodder" are under continuous threat of extinction. As the soil excavation work is on unchecked since last more than a decade now, an estimated 30 to 40% of the Karewas in Budgam , Khansahib and Chadoora tehsils alone have been raised to ground after continuous plunder by huge bull dozers , JCB's and other heavy duty earth excavators.
Details available with Early Times reveal that soil excavation work on Budgam Karewa's began around 1995 after the work on Qazi Gund -Baramulla rail project began . Hundreds of trucks , tippers were pressed into work by the various construction firms who undertook various works for Railways which was executed by IRCON a mega construction firm. The soil was used for making elevated railway track and 90% of the soil which was used for such works was excavated from Karewas of Budgam , Pulwama and Baramulla districts
According to locals there was a beautiful hillock on the outskirts of village Khanda in Chadoora tehsil of Budgam . The same was raised to ground by the construction companies after continuous excavation work said Barkat Ali a local resident of Chadoora . These Karewa's are famous for almond orchards. The saffron cultivation done on thousands of hectares of the Karewa land especially in Kaisermulla , Sarai Khampora , Kuzweira, Kultreh and a number of other villages. Due to soil excavation the almond and saffron cultivation has decreased a lot in the aforementioned villages . The animals have lost their habitat also Barkat added. "We approached Tehsildar chadoora and deputy commissioner Budgam many times but that did not help say the local residents. The Revenue department authorities are mute spectators in this whole game the locals allege. The whole area has become so much polluted that it is very difficult to walk on the roads as there is lot of dust everywhere due to movement of tippers carrying excavated soil" says Ishtiaq Ahmad of nearby Parigam village.
The cases of bronchial asthama and other respiratory tract diseases has increased to a great extent in the areas bordering Chadoora and Pulwama areas Ishtiaq added. The crops, fruits orchards of the whole of the area has been degraded by the dust emanating from the site as well as of the soil dropped from the thousands of tippers plying in the area. The locals also allege that the High court had ordered for stopping the excavation work but the authorities have failed to implement the High Court orders. a writ directing the state to stop excavation but that too has been thrown to winds.
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