Bandipora trout streams ravaged by ‘illegal’ excavation
Craters Caused By Digging Affect Fish Breeding: Experts
Bandipora, Feb 8: The famous trout streams in north Kashmir’s Bandipora township and adjoining areas are being ravaged by illegal sand and boulder extraction in violation the J&K Fisheries Act.
Illegal mechanical extraction of sand, gravel and boulders poses grave danger to the famous trout fish categorized as endangered species. “Hundreds of tippers and tractors are being loaded by the JCBs and other heavy machinery in broad daylight while officials of fisheries department are watching this vandalism helplessly,” locals said.
“Despite a blanket ban on any kind of extraction from trout streams, scores of labourers are seen extracting material from various watercourses with the help of heavy machinery and loading the same onto tippers and tractors. We see hundreds of tippers and tractors carrying loads of material from various streams in Bandipora township and its adjoining areas like Kaloosa, Arin, Papchan and Guzarbal,” the locals said.
Locals alleged that there is an unholy nexus between Fisheries Department and those involved in illegal extraction and transportation of sand. Therefore, it has become difficult for the higher authorities to check such activities or initiate action against the guilty.
Locals said that the prized trout fish is falling prey to illegal sand mining along the Madhumati, Arin, Guzarbal and Papchan streams.
Sources in Fisheries Department told Greater Kashmir that some influential contractors who are hand-in-glove with the district administration are vandalizing trout streams.
Stating that the in-depth excavation in the trout streams is dangerous for the fish habitat, Dr Mansoor Ahmed an expert of fisheries (Ichthyologist) said excavation of streams can lead to depletion of fish drastically. “The craters caused by sand extraction are affecting the spawning area along the river course, leading to decline in the number of fish,” he said.
“The trout lays eggs in shallow waters that have fine sand, which is also safe for its fingerlings,” he said. However, the craters left behind by the illegal extraction may drastically change the course of the river and increase its depth destroying the spawning area.
Making its clear that the Fisheries Department has not issued any permission for extraction, Director Fisheries Kashmir R K Dogra told Greater Kashmir that the extraction work was started after Deputy Commissioner Bandipora issued orders in this regard.
“We have nothing to do with this, if there is any involvement of fisheries officials in the matter that would be looked into,” Dogra said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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