A significant factor contributing to illegal mining in Kashmir is the unfair allocation of mineral reserves exclusively to outsiders, depriving local suppliers of any share in the profits. Consequently, local suppliers are forced to engage in illegal mining and hire local laborers, who are caught and punished, while the suppliers evade accountability. The government’s failure to provide a transparent and impartial allotment process to locals has resulted in an unregulated and illicit trade. Despite authorities’ claims to the contrary, the allocation process is fundamentally flawed.
Illegal mining in Kashmir is further fueled by various contributing factors, including contractors’ preference for big projects, leaving smaller customers to seek other options. This gap is exploited by unscrupulous individuals who engage in illegal mining and transport of minerals. Moreover, stringent regulations governing the construction industry have resulted in a scarcity of construction materials, increasing the demand for illegally extracted minerals and further stimulating the illegal trade. The temptation of quick money is another significant factor driving this problem, with many individuals willing to take the risk of engaging in illegal mining to amass wealth quickly.
Addressing the issue of illegal mining in Kashmir requires the authorities to take various measures, such as enhancing the allotment process to ensure impartiality and transparency for everyone, identifying and rectifying flaws, and strengthening regulations that govern mineral extraction and transportation. Moreover, promoting the use of sustainable building materials could help reduce the demand for illegally extracted minerals, thereby contributing in addressing the problem at its root. It is necessary to adopt a comprehensive approach to tackle this issue effectively and the Government must take note of it—because it is the high time.
It is crucial to acknowledge and tackle the root causes of illegal mining in Kashmir instead of merely punishing the individuals caught in the act and disregarding the bigger issues at hand. A comprehensive approach is necessary to address the underlying factors that contribute to the problem and create a fair and sustainable mining industry in the region while also addressing other related issues. To achieve this, it is crucial to recognize the factors involved and work diligently towards resolving the problem with a mission-oriented approach.
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