Tribune News Service
Jammu, October 11
Illegal mining of stone and gravel is taking place in the Tawi in the Jammu region under the nose of the government and the Flood Control Department is not taking any step to stop it.
The illegal mining is leading to a loss of crores of rupees to the state exchequer, but the Flood Control Department is not bothered about it.
Sources in the Flood Control Department said a group of influential people of Jammu was behind the illegal mining.
“Whatever is going on has got the green signal from the top. Even the Minister for Flood Control is aware of the illegal mining, which is being done in his Assembly constituency of Marh also, but he has not taken any steps to stop the practice,” said a source.
Everyday scores of trolleys and tippers are seen extracting sand and gravel from the riverbed and sell them at exorbitant rates in the market. They have a monopoly in the field and no common man can dare do mining on his own.
“The mining in the Tawi is hundred per cent illegal. Right from the Udhampur area up to the international border in the Jammu region, illegal mining is going on unabated,” said a source, adding that the practice was going on not only in the Tawi, but also in small rivulets of the Jammu region.
The state government has to invite tenders first and the lowest bidder has to be given the contract of mining, but the Flood Control Department has not followed the practice for the past some time.
“The state government is not getting its share. The state exchequer is facing a loss of crores of rupees,” the source added.
Earlier, the government allegedly used to invite tenders for formality sake only so that they are not taken to task. “But even after inviting of tenders, contractors are doing mining without having the allotment of the contract,” the source said.
Minister for Flood Control Sukhnandan Choudhary and Chief Engineer of the Jammu region Rajiv Gandotra could not be contacted for comment.
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