Geology and Mining Department in slumber:

Geology and Mining Department in slumber:

‘Self-styled’ Contractors loot hapless sand diggers

Pulwama, KNT: Geology and Mining Department has miserably failed to check self-styled contractors who loot sand diggers to their content. Ironically, the department has not given any rights to these contractors and yet they demand royalty from sand diggers.

  The sand diggers from Samboora, Kanahbal and Behibagh areas of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district told Kashmir News Trust that some self-styled contractors demand royalty from them, though Department of Geology and Mining has not invited tenders yet. “We collect sand from different block of river Jehlum and for 100 feet sand, the self-styled contractors who claim to be having block-rights charge Rs 700 from us. It is injustice towards us as we have already suffered a lot,” they said.

   They said that neither Geology and Mining Department has invited tenders nor it has given rights to any contractor and yet some self styled contractors in connivance with the department employees resort to loot and charge royalty from poor sand diggers.

   When contacted, Geology and Mining Officer, Pulwama, Suhail Ahmed told KNT that though they have invited tenders for different blocks of river Jehlum but has not given rights to any contractor to collect royalty from sand diggers. “If some people demand or collect royalty then it is illegal and they are liable for punishment,” he said.

  The official added a rate list will be made public shortly and nobody will be allowed to loot any sand digger.
Meanwhile, Jammu Kashmir Central Contractors Coordination Committee led by Farooq Ahmed Dar staged protest against Geology and Mining Department for not allowing sand diggers to extract sand from the river. They alleged that the department frequently detains tucks loaded with sand as a result contractors suffer a lot. They appealed the Department to fix the rate of royalty and stop harassing sand diggers. (KNT)

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