Illegal mining in Ravi River

Writ of mafia reigns supreme in and around Ravi River on account of open and disguised support by some officials of Geology and Mining and other state departments which results in robbing the river of its rich mineral costing crores of Rupees. A joint team from some other departments like Irrigation and Flood Control, Roads and Buildings, Rural Development, and Forest Department has found in its probe the startling goings on in extracting mineral wealth quite illegally in flagrant violation of Jammu and Kashmir Minor Mineral Concession , Storage , Transportation of Minerals and Prevention of Illegal Mining Rules 2016. The moot question is as to whether any action has been taken against the violators and looters of the river’s mineral health following the findings by the concerned authorities . Surprisingly, there has been nothing of any sort which means there was an implied licence and a free hand provided to the plunderers of the mineral wealth of the river.
State General Administration , Irrigation and Flood Control Departments, because of their administrative and technical criticality in the entire gamut of mining respectively, have been given the copies of the findings but so far neither the culprits have been officially identified and exposed nor any deterrent action has been taken. The interesting part of the entire scheme of things is that the Government appears to be bereft of its responsibility to secure and protect the river mineral wealth and perhaps has no active source to get to know the extent of loot going on in the river and it is only on the basis of numerous private complaints having flooded the tables of the concerned administrative authorities that the District Development Commissioner Kathua swung into action which resulted in the constitution of the above team . The position is such near various spots in rivers and rivulets of District Kathua particularly Ravi River basin near Keerian Gandiyal area that the mineral mafia’s writ looms large and practically the authorities seem to be completely in ‘ no action’ mode. Does it auger well ? What is , therefore, the fate of other natural resources in the state especially in Jammu division?
Is there no monitoring and verifying mechanism in place with the Geology and Mining and other concerned departments to oversee and supervise whether mining was going on only at the identified spots and strictly under proper authorised Mining Leases and if there were extractions going on for pretty long time worth crores of Rupees, who was answerable for shutting eyes and closing ears to facilitate the loot. It is shocking that as against permissible excavation on the allotted mining leases being 11 and 9 lakh metric tonnes per annum respectively, the ground verification revealed that 234 lakh metric tonnes of minor minerals were found extracted , that also from the small segment of Ravi River basin. In simpler parlance apart from the irreparable damage caused to the basin of the river, a minimum, penalty of Rs. 50 crores should have been imposed and recovered from the lessees and the crusher units established in the vicinity. Not only this, the damage to the basin has been also in the form of 14 to 16 metres deep excavation having been resorted to in brazen violation of the rules.
When mafia of any type of indulgence, criminals and violators of the law of the land have no fear of what it meant to break the law and therefore continue looting natural wealth , the result is setting in motion of a vicious circle of unhindered and a free for all situation wrecking the system from within. Perhaps, this all could never happen had the element of doubtful integrity and dishonesty not being associate and supporting factors. It is also a fact that the criminals and the mafia know the weaknesses of the system, corrupt officials, shortage of staff, no CCTV cameras, no vigilance and supervisory mechanism, no system of checking and verifying the inventories with the crushers and other units, name sake toll posts of Excise and Taxation Department and absence of the will power to act tough against the mafia which results in the loot. Would the state administration swing into a suitable and befitting action,even if belatedly?