Illegal extraction of sand, stones goes unabated in Arnas

Tippers loading sand from river in Arnas.
Tippers loading sand from river in Arnas.

Excelsior Correspondent
REASI, Mar 13: Illegal extraction of stones and sand from streams in Arnas area of Reasi district goes on unabated with the result that mining is also severely affecting agricultural land and natural sources of water here.
A large number of tippers and JCB dozers, engaged in illegal mining, are usually seen in different streams here area while the concerned authorities are not taking any action against the culprits.
As the Railway projects are going in this area, sand and stone are in great demand while the extraction mafia is take benefit of the situation without caring about the impact on environment.
The illegal extraction of sand, according to residents, is causing damage to agricultural land as the water level in the stream is decreasing. “Some years back, there were dozens of springs and streams flowing through this area. But today the water level has considerably decreased due to illegal extraction of sand. The stream areas look like vehicle stand where a big number of tippers and dozers are seen uploading sand and stones,” they said.
The locals were also surprised as why the district administration was not taking cognizance of the matter.
Several PILs have  been filed in High Court and despite strict instructions issued by the court forbidding extraction of sand, stone or minerals from river and nullah beds, the illegal activity continues without relent and  impunity in Arnas area of Reasi district .
Despite court orders for vacating illegal encroachments from the river beds and prohibiting extraction of sand, stones and minerals from the river bed, the illegal activities are continuing unabated thus throwing the court order to winds. The situation is becoming alarming. Concerned departments, particularly Irrigation and Floods Department, Geology and Mining and district administration are not taking any serious view of this situation, locals rued.
Moreover, no seriousness has been shown towards ensuring proper liaison between the field functionaries of Geology and Mining Department and local police so as to check extraction of minor minerals.
Sources also told the Excelsior that the leaseholders who have been given the contracts to excavate the riverbed sand in the whole district, were e exploiting the royalty rules by digging more sand than the permitted quantity in the contract.
When contacted Additional Deputy Commissioner Reasi, Babu Ram said that the administration had already instructed district mineral officer to go to the spot and investigate the matter. If any one is found guilty he will not be spared and strict action will be taken against them, he added.