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Environmental Challenge

May 21, 2024

Illegal mining in Kashmir valley has emerged as a significant environmental challenge. In the first quarter, a total of 211 vehicles/ machinery indulging in illegal transportation/ extraction of minerals have been seized from offenders and fine/ penalty to the tune of Rs. 72,23,000 has been realised from the offenders. Besides, FIRs against 25 persons/ vehicles found to be involved in illegal mining have been lodged in various police stations of Pulwama district. The unregulated extraction of minerals not only depletes natural resources but also causes severe environmental degradation, disrupts local ecosystems, and undermines lawful economic activities. In Pulwama district, enforcement teams comprising officials from the Mining Department, Revenue Department, Police, Irrigation & Flood Control and other relevant agencies have been actively conducting operations against illegal mining. These teams have carried out raids and inspections across different locations to identify and penalize those involved in unlawful extraction and transportation of minerals. This proactive stance taken by the joint enforcement teams has not only led to significant seizures but also served as a deterrent, dissuading potential offenders from engaging in illegal activities. The District Administration Pulwama has issued clear directives aimed at preventing and deterring illegal mining throughout the district. The district administration has also warned violators against resorting to illegal means and has urged adherence to proper procedural norms. To ensure that government development projects are not hampered by the crackdown on illegal mining, the district administration has issued disposal permits for the legal extraction of minerals. These permits provide a legitimate source of materials for various developmental activities, ensuring that progress continues without interruption. Permit holders have been cautioned to strictly adhere to the terms and conditions of their permits, with immediate cancellation of permits in cases where violations are detected. Additionally, a large quantity of minerals from legal blocks in neighboring districts is transported through Pulwama to other parts of the region, including Srinagar. Block holders have been instructed to carry all requisite documents as mandated by law, ensuring transparency and legality in the transportation of minerals. The fight against illegal mining is not solely the responsibility of the authorities; it requires active participation from the community. The authorities have advised residents to desist from engaging in illegal mining activities and to procure minerals only from legal sources. Public awareness campaigns have been initiated to educate the community about the adverse impacts of illegal mining on the environment. Unregulated extraction activities lead to soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and contamination of water bodies. These environmental degradations have long-term consequences for the health and well-being of local communities, as well as for the overall ecological balance of the region. Economically, illegal mining undermines lawful businesses that comply with regulatory standards and contribute to the local economy through taxes and fees. Legal mining operations not only contribute to economic growth but also create employment opportunities and support infrastructure development. The success of the current measures in tackling illegal mining in Pulwama district sets a precedent for continued vigilance and sustained efforts.

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