Srinagar, Oct 26: The administration has asked for enquiry into alleged illegal sand mining in the Jhelum in the guise of dredging.
In a letter addressed to Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, the residents of Vethpora, Soiteng, Batwara, Indira Nagar, and Sonwar here have enquired about the “multi-crore sand and clay scam” in the name of dredging in the river Jhelum from Kandizal up to Kursoo Raj Bagh.
“In this connection, I am directed to request you to kindly look into the matter personally and immediate enquiry about the whole complaint and stop the said illegal activities and furnish a detailed report enabling this office to proceed further in the matter,” reads a letter from the DC to Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Kashmir.
A copy of the letter is with The Kashmir Monitor.
The residents have claimed that in the aftermath of 2014 floods, the land mafia has been converted into “sand mafia”.
The residents have also written a letter to the Inspector General of Police Crime, which reads: “As no any enquiry has been conducted by the concerned authorities till date, the involved brokers are still busy in the above said scam and no any action has been taken against them till date.”
The residents have said the “brokers took undue advantage” of the letter pads of the local mosques and the local mohalla committees for extracting the clay.
“They have sold all this sand and clay on highest rates and have collected huge amounts from its sale,” the letter reads.
“The flood control department is going to construct the bunds on the previous positions and the tenders have been sanctioned which will affect the state Exchequer and will finally make much loss to the state economy.”
Recently, the government has carried out a survey to identify the places in Srinagar for sand extraction to reduce the impact of illegal sand mining on rivers.
The survey report, a copy of which is in the possession of The Kashmir Monitor, says that the river Jhelum is main drainage endowed with sand resources to meet the local requirements of the developmental works of the district.
“The central portion of the river Jhelum from Raj Bagh to Cement Bridge Qamarwari being in the heart of the Srinagar city is discouraged for extraction of sand,” the report had suggested.
For the last four years, 76,162 metric tons of sand have been extracted from Jhelum in Srinagar, it says.
The report also mentions Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India notification, making it mandatory to obtain environmental clearance for different kinds of development projects including mining projects.
An official of Irrigation and Flood Control Department said that government has been receiving complaints that illegal sand extraction has been taking place at Raj Bagh locality and it’s adjoining areas.
The areas have become vulnerable to floods due to the weakening of the embankments of the river in several areas of Srinagar.