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After Sapphire, Tourmaline, Aquamarine rocks surface in Padder area
3/24/2015 12:17:57 AM
Asif Iqbal Naik
Early Times Report

Jammu, Mar 23: Padder area of Kishtwar district commonly known as "land of sapphire" has once again shown its richness and importance on the geological map of India, as the rock beds in the area have developed big cracks rich minerals Aquamarine and Tourmaline are coming out of these. As per tentative reports, there is 50 billion US dollar Sapphire reserves in these Padder Sapphire mines.
According to the locals, pencil colored Tourmaline rocks were found in abundance in the Sansari area of Padder Tehsil of Kishtwar district bordering Himachal Pradesh. The locals said the local smugglers are busy in curving out the rich mineral out of Tourmaline rocks and selling the same in international market through Gulabgarh-Himachal Pradesh (Pangi) route along with Sapphire stolen from the sapphire mines situated in higher altitudes of Suncham area of Padder. Other than Tourmaline, rocks of brown colored Aquamarine are also found in Chitto and Kaban area of Padder. Rocks of Quartzite, gems of different color, rocks of white color Marble, Granite were also found in the area.
According to the experts, Padder area is rich in precious rocks and the same, if were extracted, government can earn billions of rupees, beside it can generate jobs for thousands of unemployed youth. The experts were further of the opinion that the marble rocks found in Padder area are of the same quality as that of the marble used in construction of world famous "Taj Mahal". The experts said the rocks of Tourmaline and Aquamarine have started developing crakes due to the pressure developed in the area through a natural process. "Government needs to conduct the full fledged survey of the whole area to know the exact quantity of these costly minerals in the area," they added.
The locals alleged that due to empathetic attitude of the successive governments, Padder area of Kishtwar district lacks development despite having the presence of world famous blue peacock neck Sapphire mines in this area, through which the government can earn billions of rupees by extracting Sapphire from these sapphire mines. They said that despite the lapse of more than 100 years, the government of India as well as state government fails to capitalize the rich source of Sapphire in Padder, resulting heavy losses to the state exchequer. The experts also believes that beside Blue Sapphire, there is Red Sapphire reserves concealed beneath the blue Sapphire beds. The Red Sapphire is consider more costlier than the blue one in international market.
Situated at a distance of more than 110 kilometers from Kishtwar at an altitude of over 4,000 meters, The famous Padder Sapphire mines were accidentally discovered by local people after a hillside slipped away in 1881. With intense velvet blue color ,sapphire found in Padder mines is considered as the purest form of Sapphire found anywhere in the world, thus making them most sought after and highly valued, which can be witnessed from selling of an antique of 13.86 carat sapphire fetched more than $ 360,000 at the Christie's auction few year back.
The state government though has collected revenue of Rs 13 crore by auctioning rough sapphire corundum on march 14,2008 in RRL Jammu, but on a whole it has failed to utilize the rich sapphire mines.
As per official sources, the regular extraction of sapphires had stopped in 1990 owing to lack of technology. However the sources said that, the smugglers took over the task of extraction since then. According to the locals, from Padder one has to travel a distance of nearly 40 km from nearest road side to reach Suncham where these mines are located.
Moreover, their task was easy taking in view that the policemen guarding these mines had to leave these posts in the chilly winters; because heavy snowfall in absence of a permanent structure for their accommodation makes it impossible for them to keep round the clock surveillance. "Though a temporary police picket under a boulder had been set up but one cannot remain in that picket during winters," said one local, added that due to faulty mechanism of the state government, raw sapphires running into crores of rupees vanish from these world famous mines every year.
Extraction of the famous peacock-neck-blue color stone was banned by the state high court following a litigation filed in 1989 alleging nepotism in issuing mining rights.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Pawan Kotwal, the then commissioner Secretary Industries and commerce informed the media persons few years ago that the state government has plans up its sleeves to get ultra-modern techniques for the extraction work which according to him once started, the entire area would be under 24-hour surveillance, but till now nothing has been done so far.
MLA Inderwal Ghulam Mohammad Saroori also raised the issue of Padder Sapphire mines in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and advocated for setting up of fast track system for exploring of these Sapphire mines that hold key to give boost to state economy.
In this connection a delegation from Padder led by Kartar Singh today also called on Industries and Commerce (I&C) Minister Chander Prakash Ganga and urged upon him to send its surveillance team to Padder, that not only take geological survey of the area, but also draft the plans of its extraction, beside suggesting preventive measures whatever required for the safety of the area, as according to them, the haphazardly extraction of the mineral could risk to the area. He also demanded for establishment of Sapphire refinery unit at Gulabgarh Padder, so that the local youths could get jobs in the said unit. After giving patience hearing, I&C assured full cooperation to the people of the Padder that the demanded raised by them will be consider on top priority.
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