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Officially banned but mining goes rampantly across Kathua district
7/9/2020 12:00:36 AM
SANJAY PATHAK

EARLY TIMES REPORT

KATHUA, July 8: Officially the excavation of minor minerals from rivers, rivulets is banned across the district but illegal excavation in some of the Nallah and Khads continues unabated in Kathua. All these illegal activities are done by mining mafia who has full support of mining as well as police officials due to which illegal mining operations have been done in broad daylight.
The unabated mining has not only been causing huge loss to the J&K exchequer but also damage strategic bridges, caused soil erosion and impacted the course of rivers across the state.
“It’s a free-for-all in Basantpur area. Large number of tractors could be seen daily ferrying the minor minerals from Supwal Nallah. Miners use tractor-trailers to transport sand and gravel without any fear. We are allowed to transport sand and gravel without issuing mandatory royalty payment receipts,” Suresh Kumar, a tractor owner said.
The tractor operators further informed that an individual in civvies is engaged by the mining department with the active connivance of mining mafia who took money from them on the basis of each trolley. “In return they did not give them royalty slip and assured to issue royalty slips soon to them”, the tractor operators further said.
The officials generate a handsome daily income illegally while the J&K’s coffers remain empty.” he added.
According to sources a large number of excavation points are still without auction in entire district, like Tarnah Upper stream, Maggar Khad, Ravi river and some points in Bani and Basohli area. It simply means that the mining is banned officially in these points but the mining department has been using these points for extracting money to fill their coffers.
It may be interesting to note that police department is also well aware of the fact that illegal royalty is being collected by the mining officials with the mining mafia but no action has been taken yet, which reflects some settlement between them.
Pertinently day before yesterday, Ravi Action Committee members under the leadership of Mohinder Pal Singh had also staged a protest demonstration outside the office of Deputy Commissioner Kathua. He had also claimed that illegal mining operations have been going on unabated in river Ravi with the active involvement of police as well as mining department officials.
The District Mining Officer was not available for comments however whattsapp message sent on his mobile phone was shown as seen by him but he did not reply.
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