Despite a blanket ban on extraction of small minerals, illegal mining goes unchecked in south Kashmir's Shopian district.
Local residents from Sugan and adjoining villages informed Rising Kashmir that wanton loot of precious minerals including sand, pebbles and boulders goes unabated from Rambiara rivulet in Sugan area of Shopian.
"Each day around three hundred truckloads of minerals are being extracted from Rambiara in Sugan and adjoining villages of Shopian," Wakeel Ahmad, a resident of Sugan area said.
He added that after extracting minerals from the main body of Rambiara rivulet, the illegal miners have started damaging rivulet embankments.
"The damaging of banks would increase flood threat in the area," Wakeel said.
Another resident, Mudasir Ahmad said that illegal mining in Rambiara caused deep trenches which get filled with water when the rivulet overflows.
"The water filled trenches have caused 5 accidents in which 7 persons lost their lives after drowning into them in past couple of years," he said.
The residents informed that apart from causing huge loss to state exchequer, illegal mining is posing a serious threat local funa and flora.
The residents added that they brought this issue into the notice of concerned authorities of Geology and Mining department and accused them for failing to take any legal action against the offenders.
The residents said that a blanket ban was imposed on mining from Rambiara a couple of months ago by district authorities but the ban orders were not implemented on ground.
The residents accused that illegal miners fill coffers of concerned authorities due to which they fail to crack a whip against them.
District Mineral Officer, Geology and Mining Department for Shopian, Suhail Ahmad said that they need support from common masses and police to curb this menace.
"All extraction from Rambiara is illegal. The local population should support us by resisting these illegal miners from plying their vehicles or machines through the area," he said, adding when they approached this area in past to launch a drive against illegal mining they faced intense stone pelting.
"Due to fears of law and order problem we were unable to take any action," he said.
He said that they need police support but they show resentment in visiting the said area.
He added that he raised this issue with higher authorities in the district and submitted a list of offenders to them for action but to no avail.