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Illegal mining on Beas riverbed threat to water supply schemes

Illegal mining on Beas riverbed threat to water supply schemes

A water supply scheme dries up because of illegal mining in the Neugal. Tribune Photo



Ravinder Sood

Palampur, November 19

Reckless and unscientific mining has played havoc with the Beas riverbed. The mafia uses heavy equipment like JCB machines to extract mining material with impunity.

The Beas is one of the largest rivers of north India with many dams and power projects on it. The river has been facing ecological degradation due to illegal mining and deforestation. Major tributaries of the Beas like the Neugal, Binwa, Bhiral, Awa and Mol khud have suffered heavily because of sand and stone mining. The situation is worse in Palampur as both banks of the river are prone to illegal mining in the absence of any checks.

Situation grave in Palampur

  • The Beas is one of the largest rivers of north India with many dams and power projects built on it
  • The river has been facing ecological degradation due to illegal mining and deforestation
  • Major tributaries of the Beas like the Neugal and Mol khud have suffered heavily because of sand and stone mining
  • The situation is worse in Palampur as both banks of the river are vulnerable

The existence of many drinking water supply and irrigation schemes dependent on the Beas is under threat, as the mining mafia has damaged supply lines and the riverbed at many points. During the last Assembly elections, the Congress had made it a major poll issue and promised to curb illegal mining, if voted to power. People expected the Congress government to take stringent measures against illegal mining. Though the government closed stone crushers in August this year after flashfloods, it did not cancel mining leases and illegal mining continued as usual.

Divisional Forest Officer Nitin Patil said that in the past six months, his department had dismantled many illegal roads constructed by the mafia in forests to reach the riverbed. The department had already initiated stringent measures to check mining on forestland.

#Illegal Mining #Palampur


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