Authorities Sleeping Over Unabated Mining In Dachigam Hills


Fate of state animal Hangul hangs in balance as blasting rips through nearby mountains

SRINAGAR — The unabated mining through blasting is allegedly taking a heavy toll on flora and fauna of the Dachigam National Park.

The area of the Dachigam National Park extends in north to Dara block and in south to ridges of Cheshmashahi Forests, Khanmoh-Khrew Forests.

The area contiguous to the park on its southern side namely Khrew-Khanmoh-Ladhu is of immense importance to the park. However, the pollution from cement factories and blasting is taking a huge toll on the national park.

“The mining is going in the upper reaches of Khrew and Khanmoh areas at the behest of vested interests elements, who are keen to exploit the lime stone resources of the area at their will with scant regard to the ecology of the area. Animals are getting disturbed due to a heavy blasting, where some unscrupulous elements are retrieving the stones from the mountain, which is a part of the Dachigam Park,” said a group of Shiar-Khrew residents.

“The pollution and blasting can have a huge impact on it and could disturb the ecological balance of the sanctuary,” they said.

Dachigam is the habitat for the highly endangered Hangul or Kashmir Stag and for other species.

Locals claimed that “vested interested people first give fire to forest than blasting the mountain”. “They first give fire to dense forests in the dark hours, which facilitate them to do the blasting for mining.”

“The authorities of the wild life and the geology and mining department are making no objection without seeing the consequence as they are being paid money under table. To benefit individuals they are destroying the ecological balance of the park,” they accused.

Observers believe that the catchment area of Dachigam has been reduced to less than 100 sq kms.

The government had made a proposal for the demarcation of the park, which spreads over141 sq km. However, so far the authorities have not identified its area, which extends in North to Dara Block, Sind Forest Division, Overa Aru wildlife Sanctuary and in South to Ridges of Cheshmashahi forests, Khanmoh Khrew forests, Hajin and Narastan and Zowirstan forests. Its boundaries in east extend to lake Marsar and in the West Harwan water reservoir and Zabarwan Forests.

“It only appears on papers that Dachigam spreads over 141 sq km but the authorities have failed to identify the area. Even a proposal was framed years ago for its proper demarcation, which has been shelved for unknown reasons,” said Wild Life Department official.

He said the artificial demarcation of its boundaries was done at few places and the civilian population was also residing in its area at several places, posing a serious threat to its species.

Officials said with absence of boundaries and fencing, local live stock of the surrounding areas of the Dachigam Wildlife Park goes on a grazing spree in its upper reaches resulting in heavy habitat degradation. (KNS)

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