Unabated sand mining poses threat to trout production in Kupwara

Despite a ban on sand mining, contractors in Kupwara district are using heavy machinery like earth cutters to extract huge quantities of sand and boulders from major streams in the district which is badly affecting the production of trout in these streams.
Known for producing large quantities of fish, Nullah Warnow has become a major casualty of the sand-mining mafia. Local residents said truckloads of sand and boulders were being extracted from Nullah Warnow near Khumriyal and Gher Hatti.
“The unabated extraction of sand and boulders is not only affecting the production of trout in the nullah but also disturbing ecology in the district. It has also affected water level in the nullah leading to shortage of irrigation and drinking water,” said Irshad Ahmad Shiekh, a Kupwara resident.
Nullah Warnow flows through the outskirts of Kupwara township. It is a major source of irrigation to thousands kanals besides being familiar for production of rare trout.
Mawar and Vijh nullahs in Handwara are also in a bad shape, local residents said. “In the absence of a proper vigil by the authorities, the contractors are extracting sand and boulders in large quantities from these nullahs. This is not only affecting the ecology of the area but also production of fish in these streams,” said Abdul Majid Shah, a Handwara resident.
Kupwara Deputy Commissioner Ghulam Mohammad Dar said, “Extraction of sand through use of earth cutters is illegal. We will ensure action under law against those who are found guilty of this illegal act.”