Sand extraction from river Jhelum is an important aspect of saving the city from the floods during summers. Right from Verinag, the source of river Jhelum to varius other small rivers like Vishu, Ramiara and Ladder stream, finally culminate into river Jhelum and bring with them lot of stones and sand.
River Jhelum has in its bed lot of sand and it gets accumulated in the bed during summers and the winters are the best season to extract the sand so that the level of river Jhelum does not become shallow.
Hundreds of poor families in South Kashmir especially near Sangam and Pulwama district depend for their survival totally on the extraction of sand. It is their source of income and the government should have intervened and should have paid them nominally during winters so that the floods could be avoided and the also get encouraged to extract sand from the river bed.
Initially two government departments started asking for royalty from the sand extractors. Department of Fisheries in order to save the fish culture in river Jhelum had imposed some curbs on sand extraction but most of such orders remained only on files when different officials along with Geology and Mining Department helped NHAI to extract sand in a wonton manner from river Jhelum without adhering to any norms.
They through bribes allegedly paid to fisheries and geology mining officers, played havoc with the bed river Jhelum and did not adhere to any norms while extracting sand and even they paid minimum royalty to the government exchequer but allegedly paid more to the officials as it was all clandestine operation.
Those hundreds of families should be allowed to carry on their traditional sand extraction as they have been paying to the government and it is unjust to give this contract to outsiders.
VOV NEWS DESK