Umer Rashid

Srinagar: Wanton mining in nallah Rambi Ara over quite a considerable period now has been posing a serious threat to the local populace and natural ecology alike, with authorities allegedly taking no action despite time to time representations by the locals.

A local delegation to GNS claimed that there are as many as thirty heavy LNT machines involved in the mining from Shopian to Lassipora. “The illegal mining has been going on for quite a while now, but the authorities don’t seem to budge despite many representations”, they said.

In a quest to ascertain the veracity of claims and to take a firsthand account of things, this correspondent visited the specified sites, during which the correspondent found the illegal mining going on with complete disdain to all protocols.

Talking to GNS, a social-activist identifying himself as one Owais Ahmad Khan said that unchecked mining is causing significant damage to the environment which could possibly lead to long-term consequences for the local population.

“As per EC guidelines, they have to involve local youth for employment and then have to dig only one meter manually. However, we can see that they are using Heavy L&T machinery and are digging around 15 feet deep, which can destroy the area in a single month, as we saw in Pulwama district”, Khan said.

“Our locals are wholly and solely dependent on horticulture and due to disturbance in the water bed, farmers are not getting water properly for their orchards”, Khan said adding “Despite the prescribed limit, they are mining 24hrs, and the areas which are getting drinking water from the same canal are forced to drink polluted water.”

“Worthy DC has inspected the areas several and stopped the work, but a permanent solution is needed to address the issue”, he said.

When contacted, DMO Shopian Naseer Ahmad said there are 20 legal e-auctioned blocks operational in Shopian district and also twenty in neighbouring district Kulgam, which according was a matter of pride for the South (Kashmir).

When asked about the claims being made by locals about the operation of at least 30 mining blocks operating in the area, the DMO instead of answering dropped the call.

The locals have urged the district administration to take immediate action into the matter as to prevent any further damage to the natural ecology and the people. (GNS)