Mining mafia active in Kathua, people protest

Tractor used for illegal mining seized by protestors in Kathua on Saturday. —Excelsior/Pardeep
Tractor used for illegal mining seized by protestors in Kathua on Saturday. —Excelsior/Pardeep

Excelsior Correspondent

KATHUA, May 30: The people of Kathua held a protest demonstration against the Geology and Mining Department Kathua over illegal mining in Kumari-Kathera area. The protestors led by Abdul Rashid raised slogans against the Mining Department at Pallah Morh near Kumari Kathera.
They also stopped some tractor trolleys loaded with building material which was extracted from the river illegally. The protestors alleged that the mining mafia is operating in the area under the very nose of Mining and Forest Departments. The local mafia is having a field day as they are frequently operating in the area. Despite the ban on mining in this area, a large number of tractor trolleys are frequently moving loaded with building material like sand and stones which is either being extracted from river bed or forest land, they added.
The protestors while criticizing the authorities alleged that no one from Mining and Forest Departments bother to put a check on mining mafia.
When some local people went to collect sand for household usage, the Mining Department harassed them but when mafias come with tractor trolleys and tippers no one takes action against them because they are greasing the palms of departmental officials.
They said that some goons are active to collect the money on the name of royalty from tractor owners. The matter was brought in the notice of Forest Department, Mining Department and Kathua police but no action was taken by anyone. This forced us to come on the road, they added.
They demanded the judicial enquiry into the matter and stern action against the guilty.