Illegal mining in River Tawi posing threat to Jammu Ropeway Project

A view of illegal extraction by mafia near Tower No. 4 of Jammu Ropeway Project on Tawi River bed. —Excelsior/Rakesh
A view of illegal extraction by mafia near Tower No. 4 of Jammu Ropeway Project on Tawi River bed. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Mafia continuously extracting minor mineral in vicinity of towers
Admn, Police, G&M Deptt turn Nelson’s eye towards DB orders
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Jan 16: Illegal mining in River Tawi has started posing threat to the prestigious Jammu Ropeway Project well before its formal commissioning due to the absolute non-seriousness on the part of all those agencies which are required to keep check on the activities of mafia especially in the light of numerous directions passed by the highest court of the State.
In the Public Interest Litigations (PILs) highlighting various issues involving conservation and preservation of River Tawi, the Division Bench of the State High Court had in the month of November 2016 imposed complete ban on extraction of minor minerals from River Tawi.
On subsequent hearings in these PILs, the DB had even directed Geology and Mining Department to establish sufficient number of check posts for prohibition of extraction and transportation of minor minerals from the River Tawi. Even the SSP Jammu was ordered to ensure installation of two check posts to foil the illegal activities of mining mafia during the night hours.
However, the illegal activities of the mafia are still going on in River Tawi particularly during the night hours and now they have started extracting minor minerals from the immediate vicinity of the towers of the Jammu Ropeway thereby posing threat to the prestigious project, which is likely to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his forthcoming visit to the State.
Large scale extraction has already taken place just adjoining the Tower No.4 of the Ropeway Project but no action against the mafia has been taken by any of the concerned authorities even after being apprised about the same by the officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation.
“Some days back J&K Cable Car Corporation had brought the grave issue to the notice of senior officers in the civil administration as well as concerned police but till date no action has been taken against the mafia”, sources said, adding “the intensity of non-seriousness towards the issue can be gauged from the fact that even nobody either from the civil administration or from the police bothered to visit the site to personally assess the damage caused by the mafia”.
They further said, “mafia is still indulging in extraction of minor minerals fearlessly and whenever the watch and ward staff of the Jammu Ropeway Project deployed at Peer Kho Terminal Station tries to foil the activities of the mafia they are threatened of the dire consequences”, adding “in view of the threat perception the watch and ward staff is finding it difficult to thwart the attempts of the mafia”.
“If the illegal mining is not stopped forthwith it would pose serious threat to the lives of the people who would be taking ride in the ropeway following its formal commissioning”, sources further said while disclosing that even RITES Ltd, a Government of India Enterprise and consultant for the Jammu Ropeway Project has dashed a formal communication to the Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation expressing serious concern over the threat posed to Tower No.4 due to illegal mining.
The RITES Ltd has asked the Corporation to immediately start protection work on the base of this particular tower and take steps to prevent such a situation in future.
“The illegal extraction particularly in the immediate vicinity of Ropeway Project tower has clearly established that all the concerned agencies including police and Geology and Mining Department have failed to strictly implement the order of the Division Bench of the State High Court banning extraction of minor minerals from River Tawi”, sources said.
The activities of mafia have also put a big question mark on the functioning of the check points, which the Geology and Mining Department has established on the banks of River Tawi on the directions of the State High Court, sources further said, adding “the prevailing situation demands all the concerned agencies to strictly implement directions of the High Court and issue order restricting movement of people around the towers of the Jammu Ropeway Project”.


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