Police on Sunday arrested five persons and seized three JCB machines for illegally extracting sand and bajri from Mawar Nallah in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.A police official told GNS that following the public complaints regarding illegal bajri, stone and sand extraction from water bodies in Mawar area of Hanwadar and other streams for past many months, a special police team was constituted by SP Handwara Ghulam Jeelani who raided several spots in Mawar area.The team today arrested five persons and seized three JCB machines during a raid at Mawer Nallah after they were found extracting bajri and sand, a police official said.
The official identified the arrested as Ian Amin son Mohammad Amin Mir, Bashir Mir son of Mohd Amin of Maretgam, Ankur Singh son of Januger Singh of Doda, Bashir Dar son of Ab samad of Shanu, and Ghulam Nabi Mir son of Ali Mohd of Muqam. “A case under FIR No. 195/2015 under section 379, 447 A, 188 RPC has been registered and further investigations taken up”, the official said.Meanwhile, locals of the area hailed the police action against the persons involved in the extraction of sand, stones and bajri in water bodies.The locals said that despite government ban on illegal extraction of stones, boulders and sand from streams in the State, the practice is going on unabated in these cold water streams, considered as home to famous Trout fish which remain attractions for tourists visiting Nowgam and Bungus.
Locals said that illegal mining is proving disastrous for agricultural and horticultural land. “There are hundreds of spots from where the stone and sand is being extracted from the streams,” said Feroz Ahmad, a resident of Mawar.Indiscriminate digging of water bodies and material extraction has sparked fears among the local farmers that their paddy fields may face acute shortage of irrigation water as JCB machines and tippers have damaged heads of irrigation canals at Bakihakar, Langate, Tulwari, Khoipora, Shatgund Payeen, Wadipora, Goriakar and Detipora.“There should be a joint inspection by environmental scientists and higher ups of concerned line departments so that the eco-fragile environs are saved from a disastrous situation,” he said. “What is the use of development if it leads to destruction of paddy, maize, apple and fish which are permanent sources of our livelihood,” questioned the locals. (GNS)