CB Unearths Multi Crore Sand Extraction Scam

SRINAGAR —The Crime Branch (CB) has unearthed a multi crore scam of extraction of sand from river Jehlum.

The Investigating Agency unravelled the fraud after a number of residents of Vethpora, Soiteng, Batwara, Indiranagar, and Sonwar wrote to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Crime “about the sand mafia active in these areas.” The Investigating Agency recently initiated a probe and SSP Crime Srinagar is investigating the matter.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar has also written to Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Kashmir to look into the matter.

As per the letter submitted to the IGP Crime by the residents, the  sand mafia was active in the areas.

In the letter it was mentioned that “no enquiry has been conducted by the concerned authorities till date.” It further added “the involved brokers are still busy in the scam and no action has been taken against them till date.”

As per the letter the “brokers cut down the willow plants and also damaged the support structure of the river, which was not included in their work order.”

“They have extracted the sand from the banks of Jehlum worth hundred crores of rupees,” it added.

As per the residents, the “sand mafia” has been taking full advantage of non-serious attitude of Irrigation and Flood Control department.

“Sand mafia has been putting at risk the lives of thousands of residents. For extracting sand, they have breached the river. Number of tippers can be seen lifting the sand,” Sharif Ahmad of Rajbagh said.

“The movement of tippers shakes our houses, which were badly damaged because of the September 2014 floods,” he adde. The residents said that sand extraction has been weakening the embankments of the river.

“They just place the silt along the embankments which weakens the embankments. The weakening of embankments and breaching can prove fatal,” said another resident Imran Ahmad.

Referring to the September 2014 floods the residents said that there “is every chance that the water may enter into their locality in case of floods” after the breach of embankments.

“We suffered a lot because of September 2014 floods. We want to ensure our safety. We can go to any extent for that,” said residents of Rajbagh.  “ Many other people living on Jehlum banks have said that sand mafia has turned our lives into hell.”

The residents said that they brought the issue to the notice of the authorities several times, but despite “assurances nothing happened.”

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