Pulwama, January 29
The authorities have allegedly failed to curb the movement of machines and vehicles into the Jhelum for extraction of sand, resulting in weakening of the embankments and increasing the threat of floods.
Residents of Kandizal, Samboora, Patal Bagh, Kakapora and Hatiwar claimed that illegal sand mining was going on unabated across the villages and said it was one of the major reasons for the last year’s deluge.
“Movement of vehicles and other machinery employed for the extraction of sand weakens the fragile banks and poses threat to the villages,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident of Kandizal. He alleged that dozens of tippers venture into the Jhelum during the nights to load sand.
The residents further said they had brought the issue into the notice of the authorities concerned, but to no effect.
“We brought the issue into the notice of the authorities concerned but despite assurances to initiate action against the erring persons, nothing has been done on the ground,” Ahmad said.
District General Manager, Geology and Mining Department, Showkat Ahmad Shah said the Irrigation and Flood Control Department needed to look into the matter and act sternly against the persons who damaged the river embankments.
“I will also take up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner and will also seek the police intervention in this regard,” Showkat said.
He also said the department had instructed the field staff to identify the erring tipper drivers and JCB owners so that action could be taken against them.
Assistant Executive Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control, Mohammad Altaf said: “A few days ago, the department had sent a four-member team to inspect the spot and prevent the vehicles from venturing into the river, but the erring drivers caught hold of the employees and beat them mercilessly.”
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