Ban on illegal sand mining from river beds in Jammu and Kashmir has been there for years but the way the powerful sand mafia is operating the ban looks superfluous and government looks a small time player in the game. Despite a ban on sand mining, violations are open and blatant in any water source. Sand mining from the river bed has been the main reasons for the falling water level and drought like conditions. This phenomena is being witnessed country-wide and with the climate change drought is going to be more serious. Today Tawi which is the main water source for the city of Jammu has turned into a drain carrying sewer water of courtesy the blatant and unchecked sand mining lowering water level and the ground water level too is depleted. Most of the peripheral areas have open sand mining going on may be under the permit system but what is left after that economic exploitation is a dry river. The growing demand of sand and water-borne gravel for construction works are to be blamed for the wanton exploitation. The scene is almost same even in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Himachal. Go down the National Highway towards Kathua rampant mining of river Ravi is visible and what guarantees that limits won’t be exploited beyond the licensed capacity. Ravi is dying due to illegal mining in Kathua district which has become a threat to environment, and heavy loss to the state exchequer. Under the very nose of the state government, Punjab-based stone crushers are mining river bed beyond legal mark, causing severe damage to river and on the other side it is Jammu and Kashmir which has created a piquant situation for the law enforcing agencies on both sides which to some extent has given an understanding between them and the contractors due to the territorial confusion. The rampant violations not only harms the environment but drains out state exchequer of the valuable resources and revenue. The scenario in the remote areas is the worst where enforcement agencies are unable to keep a watch and if the local police is in hand in glove hen nobody can check the exploitation but it will have greater ramifications environmentally. Despite mining ban in the Chakki rivulet in the subdivision bordering Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, rampant as well as illegal mining is going on, posing a threat to 12 gram panchayats.
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