Tribune News Service
Jammu, May 20
Residents of villages falling in Phallian Mandal block of Marh constituency have alleged that the government’s ban on lifting of minor mineral, including sand and gravel, from the Tawi has raised the water levels dangerously, which could result in floods anytime.
They feared that any natural calamity, such as the 2014 floods, could bring more damage and miseries if the government did not take cognizance of the threat before the upcoming monsoons.
“The dangerously raised level of the riverbed due to the ban on minor mining and regular dumping of garbage is a threat to people living in the vicinity as chances of inundation, besides greater damage to life, live stock and crop, may increase manifolds during the monsoon season,” said Vijay Sharma, a resident of Surechak, one of the 45 villages of Phallian Mandal block.
The cluster of 45 villages under Phallian Mandal in Marh is vulnerable to flash floods during heavy rains as all these villages are situated in the low-lying areas and fall under ‘Nardua’— an area surrounded by river from all four sides. Tawi, which remains prone to floods in monsoons, encircles these 45 villages.
Two years ago, the J&K High Court had imposed a ban on mining to keep a check on uncontrolled extraction of minerals from local rivers, including the Tawi, a nullah near Sidhra bypass bridge, Jajjar nullah and Kattal Battal. Though the ban was imposed to save Tawi riverbed, on which four bridges are constructed, the other sites of mining in the periphery were not brought under prohibition.
“The issue of threat of floods has been brought to the notice of government many times, but no action has been taken. If any untoward incident happens, flood and irrigation and geology and mining departments will be held responsible,” said Subhash Sharma, a resident of Jwalapuri village.
However, JS Jamwal, deputy director, department of geology and mining, dismissed it as a false cry raised by the villagers. He termed their fears illogical.
“The High Court has banned mining in Tawi river at certain locations. We cannot go against its directions. Besides, villagers’ fear is unfounded as all fields in these villages are above flood levels. Though natural calamities cannot be challenged, but illegal encroachments on banks of Tawi are a matter of concern,” Jamwal added.
‘Fears of villagers unfounded’
"The High Court has banned mining in Tawi river at certain locations. We cannot go against its directions. Besides, villagers’ fear is unfounded as all fields in these villages are above flood levels. Though natural calamities cannot be challenged, but illegal encroachments on banks of Tawi are a matter of concern." JS Jamwal, Deputy Director, Department of Geology and Mining
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