Ban imposed on illegal extraction of river bed material in Pulwama

One of the rivers in Pulwama
One of the rivers in Pulwama where river bed material is extracted

SRINAGAR — The Additional Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Choudhary Mohammad Yasin has ordered a blanket ban on illegal extraction and unlawful mining of all sorts of river bed material from rivers, nallahs, water bodies, tributaries and offshoots in the district, and earth from the karewas, carried out in any manner, form or method with immediate effect.

The order, the officer said, has been taken in compliance with the judgements of Supreme Court and J&K High Court and orders and environmental rules and regulations in exercise of the powers envisaged under section 133 of J&K Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

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He said that the area specific task forces have been constituted to stop illegal mining in Pulwama.

The move comes following numerous complaints verified by reports of field officers that widespread illegal mining of river bed materials (RBM) including sand and gravel is being undertaken in various rivers, nallahs (particularly Romshi and Rambiara) and Karewas, wetlands in various parts of the district.

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“This rapacious and rampant exploitation of minor minerals is completely illegal as there is no existing valid mineral block allotment post February 28th, 2019 as made clear by SRO 93 of 2019 dated 01.02.2019 of Industries and Commerce Department of J&K Government,” the order reads.

This illegal mining is also done in contravention of the Mines And Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 1957 and J&K Minor Mineral Concession Storage, Transportation of Minerals and Prevention of Illegal Mining Rules 2016 (SRO 1065; Dated: 31.03.2016) and many relevant rulings of the Supreme Court and J&K High Court issued from time to time, it said.

The order further reads: “The unabated mining is also seriously detrimental to public life. The villages of these areas have been raising a lot of hue and cry over the growing threats to their sustenance. It also leads to many other serious and damaging repercussions such as extinction of local fishery enclaves, destruction of irrigation channels and ultimately affecting the local pollution levels of the region and leading to serious and lasting environment. These effects undoubtedly enable such illegal mining acts to be deemed as a public nuisance and hence inviting of magisterial intervention.”

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The task forces have been authorized to seize the earth moves (JCBs, Polkins etc) and tippers caught undertaking these mining activities besides immediate arrest of the persons operating the machinery found on the spot.

The order also calls for initiating serious and relevant legal action against habitual offenders, and identification of the main sponsors, patrons and networks facilitating the same.

The task forces shall be directly responsible for any uncontrolled violation in their respective areas, the order reads.

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