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Illegal mining threat to water schemes

Illegal mining in Kangra has posed a threat to over 100 irrigation and drinking water supply schemes which get water from small rivers of this district.

The Kirpal Chand kuhal supplying water to over 30 panchayats comprising 100 villages of Palampur, Bhawarans and Daroh blocks and Charnamati and lower Baijnath kuhals feeding 15 panchayats of Baijnath block are in danger because of continuous mining in catchment areas of Neugal and Binwa rivers.

The water level in Neugal and other khuds, Binwa, Gaj, Baner, Awa, Bhattoo, Mol and Bhiral has gone down in over five years. During this summer, people of the region had experienced the worst-ever drinking water crisis as most of these khuds had gone dry in April and May.

Since all these khuds are the tributaries of the Beas, the BBMB has written to the government for checking of illicit felling, grazing, mining, dumping of debris and quarrying in catchments areas of the tributaries of the Beas falling in Kangra and Mandi, but no serious steps have been initiated.

The illegal mining has resulted in a large-scale deforestation, landslides and flash floods. Over 25,000 hectares of land has been affected by the mining.

A senior officer of the state Mining Department said in the absence adequate field staff, it was not possible to check illegal mining in Kangra. He said there were over 200 sites which were prone to illegal mining in Kangra district while it had only six mining inspectors. He said the government should provide more manpower. 

The Tribune (28-11-2013)