In what could be termed as deliberate silence of the Geology and Mining department for the reasons best known to it, state is losing more than Rs 750 crores on yearly basis due to illegal and unlawful extraction of sand and gravel from rivers across Jammu region.
Worst hit are Jammu, Udhampur and Rajouri districts the Mafia operates during the broad day light without any fear of getting caught. If the sources are to be believed, this mining Mafia has full backing of top political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir.
They added that police does not dare to touch them despite knowing well that whatever they are doing is not only illegal but violative of stringent Supreme Court guidelines.
Sources further said that the department does not bother to keep a liaison with police to ensure that wherever they find Mafia operating they could immediately take action, but the department does not seem to be interested at all in taking action against mining Mafia.
Such is the valour of those involved in this murky trade that they loot in open broad day light, transport sand and gravel in full public view and yet not even cases are lodged against them.
Sources further said that this uncontrolled extraction of sand and gravel is causing damage to rivers, bridges, roads, colonies and in certain cases even triggering floods. It is the matter of routine that one sees tractors, trucks and mules stripping the river beds of the minerals wealth and destroying the rivers while earning crores in return.
They earn crores but pay not even a single penny to the government. Sources said that if a person has been authorized to take one truck load of sand, he takes twenty. Sources added that there is no way to stop these influential miners from damaging rivers. He said “Everything is known to the government yet no action is taken. We have been repeatedly requesting the government to provide us a wing headed by police officers with powers to take immediate action wherever mining Mafia is found operational.”
Meanwhile, uncontrolled extraction of minor minerals has been going on in rivers and rivulets in J&K, including Tawi in Jammu, causing damage to the basements and superstructure of the bridges over it. Similarly, in the Kashmir valley, unabated mining has been going on in the Jhelum and other strea.