70 tubewells in Ropar village go dry, illegal mining to blame : The Tribune India


70 tubewells in Ropar village go dry, illegal mining to blame

70 tubewells in Ropar village go dry, illegal mining to blame

Photo for representation. File photo

Tribune News Service

Arun Sharma

Ropar, June 9

Over 70 tubewells at Heerpur village here have gone dry. Residents have blamed it on illegal mining in the Sutlej riverbed adjoining their land saying that deep digging is leading to a fall in the water level.

This is not the first village to have cited illegal mining as the reason for tubewells going dry. Earlier, residents of Sangatpur, Saidpur and Bhanua villages had protested against illegal mining.

“We know that the groundwater level is falling even otherwise. However, in the case of our villages, we have been told by experts that deep illegal mining in the riverbed is one of the major reasons of the current situation,” said Bakhtwar Singh, a 75-year-old farmer of the village. A geologist in the Agriculture Department, Jaspal Singh, told The Tribune that when a riverbed is dug up, water recharge starts from the same depth, leading to a depletion in the level of groundwater even in adjoining areas.” He said deep digging of the riverbed also punctured the acquifer (underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock) due to which water overflowed onto the ground level, particularly at mining spots. “The groundwater at such spots runs off with the river water, leading to further depletion. The river water entering through the punctured acquifer also pollutes the groundwater,” he said.

Following a protest by residents at the village, Deputy Commissioner Amandeep Kaur has constituted a committee to report on the matter.

The committee, headed by Anandpur Sahib SDM Manisha Rana, has the XEN of the Mining Department, Anandpur Sahib DSP, Anandpur Sahib block geologist, groundwater cell hydrologist, Ropar, XEN (Headworks), Anandpur Sahib tehsildar and the Nurpur Bedi naib tehsildar as its members.

Officials in the Agriculture Department have alerted the authorities in the past over the issue, saying that such complaints have increased manifold after mining was noticed in rivers, especially in the Sutlej, during the past decade.

Though groundwater used to be found at 5 to 8 ft in villages on river banks in the past, now farmers are digging up new borewells up to a depth of over 200 ft.

Dilbagh Singh of Heerpur village said tubewells in their villages were drying up for the past two years.

“After my tubewell went dry, I was forced to install a new tubewell by spending Rs 4.24 lakh,” he said.

#illegal mining #ropar

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