SRINAGAR: Despite the ban on sand mining, the contractors in Kupwara district in north Kashmir are using heavy machinery like earth cutters to extract huge quantities of sand and boulders from major streams in the district thereby badly affecting production of trout fish in a few streams.
Known for producing large quantities of trout fish, Nullah Warnow has become a major causality of the sand mining mafia. The local residents said that the truck loads of sand and boulders were being extracted from Nullah Warnow near Khumriyal and Gher Hatti unabatedly.
“The unabated extraction of sand and boulders is not only affecting the production of trout fish in the this nullah but also disturbing the ecology in the district. It has also affected water level in the nullah leading to shortage of irrigation and drinking water,” said Irshad Ahmad Shiekh, a Kupwara resident.
Nullah Warnow flows through the outskirts of Kupwara township. It is a major source of irrigation to thousands kanals of land besides being familiar for production of rare trout fish.
Mawar and Vijh nullahs in Handwara are also in a bad shape, local residents said. “In absence of a proper vigil by authorities, the contractors are extracting sand and boulders in large quantities from these nullahs. This is not only affecting the ecology of the area but also production of fish in these streams,” said Abdul Majid Shah, a Handwara resident.
Kupwara district is blessed with good resources of water spread in the shape of streams, rivers, springs and irrigation canals. If channelized properly, the district has tremendous scope for development in fisheries sector both in trout and food fisheries.
Kupwara Deputy Commissioner Ghulam Mohammad Dar said, “Extraction of sand through use of earth cutters is illegal. We will ensure action under law against those who are found guilty of this illegal act,”