Baramulla, Apr 15 (GNS) The 105 megawatt Lower Jhelum Hydroelectric Project (LJHP) Chahla area of border town Uri in Baramulla district is facing a serious threat of catastrophic damage as the illegal sand mining is going on near the project for the last six months.
“The mafia is active here for last some time and they are extracting the sand near the power project. It will weaken the beds of the river Jhelum which can cause a major damage to the project,” Abdul Rashid Bhat, executive engineer, Lower Jhelum Hydroelectric Project told GNS.
He said they have taken up the matter with the district administration Baramulla. “Now the ball is in their court. They have to take action,” he said.
The LJHP authorities had in October last year written to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Baramulla G N Itoo regarding the issue, following which he issued the orders of banning the illegal extraction of sand in the area. The DC also assigned the floods control department Uri to keep a check on the issue.
After DC’s directions, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Uri constituted a three member committee to investigate the illegal sand mining and extraction of river bed material from the area.
The SDM in February wrote to the Tehsildar Boniyar and said that they have seized some amount of sand from the miners and are also taking the advantage of the night hours miners were lifting the sized sand from the spot.
As per sources at SDM office Uri, the miners took away most of the seized sand from the spot.
The Geology and Mining department Baramulla has estimated the cost of the seized material at Rs 22 lakh and is 8,000 metric tonnes in quantity.
Imran Ahmad Bhat, Tehsildar Boniyar, who was assigned to carry out the probe, said that the opposite party (miners) took the case to the court. “After that, we were excluded from the case and refrained to carry out any investigation. It was handed over to the floods control department,” he said.
Bashir Ahmad Shah, Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE), department of floods control Uri said that they were trying their best to stop the illegal sand mining in the area. “We have also taken up the issue with police and two FIRs have been registered against the sand mafia,” he said.
“However, we are unable to see the ground situation these days because of COVID-19 outbreak,” he added.
LJHP is UT’s one of the oldest power project that supplies the electricity to entire valley and outside states. It was started in 1979. It is J&K’s own power project owned by the power department.
Three more rivulets in Uri – Haijpeer, Jabla, and Hapatkhai – that mix-up with Jhelum are also facing the sand mining issue. Even fish production has also been reduced there. (GNS)