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BARAMULLA: Pertinently, as per section 133-A of J&K Land Revenue Act, excavation of soil is banned for personal gains. Why these acts are made if not implemented in J&K. As an old saying “Rules are made for Fools “. Rampant soil extraction from last one month deface Pattan Baramulla Karewas. Soil excavation is continuous from the Karewas of Pattan Baramulla from last one month and no action is taken from the civil administration. As a result the land mafia has become more active from past few weeks. They resort to soil cutting even in broad day light, thus damaging the Karewas of pattan. “The entire area of Pattan has lost its scenic beauty to the illegal extraction of soil.

However, people in the area seem to be destroying these table lands at the cost of development and petty commerce, ignoring the geological and aesthetic significance of these formations even though alternative construction and building material is available in vast amounts.

This only shows our ignorance about understanding earth sciences as a subject. The rich fertile soil is being used for landfill purposes at construction sites which is not only wastage of resource, but a threat taking into account the high seismic zone our Valley falls into. The rush of trucks and tractors into these areas for soil results in air pollution. The dust blocks the stomata of the leaves of apple trees which then causes the trees to dry up. The roads are full of dust causes the people to suffer. The dust also causes serious health problems to the Local people.

Karewas are the thick deposits of glacial clay and other materials embedded with moraines. These deposits are found in the Kashmir valley between Pir Panjal and Zaskar range in the Himalaya. Geologists consider that area of Kashmir valley was filled with water of Thesis Sea but with the passage of time many earthquakes came and a part of Baramulla range broken down, that resulted in emptying of water from the valley leaving behind the molds of Karewas. These Karewas are widespread to the west of river Jhelum in the valley.

“Karewas are our treasures. We owe responsibility of their safe keeping for our future generations,” “Karewas have millions of years of history buried in them and scientists are yet completely deciphering them. Their study will give us new insights into paleontology and ancient civilization that thrived in Kashmir. But if they are destroyed we will lose this knowledge forever.”

Karewas sediments are witness to and treasure of many human civilizations and habitations. The Stone Age man has survived the harshest of the Pleistocene glaciations. The artifacts left by him are still entrenched in the deep soil horizons of the plateau lands. The choppers, hand axes, and sharp stone blades are worth mentioning, forming a storehouse of the Stone Age factory.

Karewas in Tehsil Pattan District Baramulla have been disfigured by the land mafia who has been resorting to soil cutting allegedly in connivance with officials while top administrative officials and District Police have been acting as mute spectators. I don’t know who gives permission to the mafias for excavating soil from these Karewas.

Instead of heaving lot of alternatives for excavating of soil, but still these people destroy the ancient Karewas in Kashmir. From last one month tippers continuously excavate the soil of the Karewas from pattan and the official authorities are silent in this issue. The contractors who use JCB’s and bulldozers in broad day light can be seen excavating soil in several areas of pattan Baramulla. Neither officials from civil administration nor from police have been taking cognizance of these illegal practices.

Due to the lack of action from the administration, land mafia has become more active from past few weeks. They resort to soil cutting even in broad day light, thus damaging the Karewas of pattan.

An estimated 10 to 20 % of the Karewas in Pattan tehsil alone have been raised to ground after continuous plunder by several construction companies, and land mafias. Huge JCBs and other heavy duty earth excavators are being used to excavate the soil which has turned these beautiful hills into valleys of death and destruction.

Karewa sediments are treasures of many human civilizations and habitations. The Stone Age man has survived the harshest of the Pleistocene glaciations through these Karewas. Apart from the Stone Age man, the remains of Buddhist Stupas on the Karewas show Buddhist influence of the time. The Brahman rulers have also left their footprints on these sediments, which can be seen near Pattan, Awantipora and Mattan. Rishis and Sufi saints are not far behind when it comes to occupying the highest reaches of the Karewas.

The Karewas are home to unique biodiversity. The famous almond orchids are best grown in the soils of Karewas. Their destruction results in the loss of such a unique biodiversity of Kashmir. The negligence of the concerned authorities will lead to the destruction of these Karewas especially in Pattan area. The government are seeing silently and giving them permission to destroy these Karewas without knowing the impacts which are faced by all of us. Hundreds of examples are found around the Pattan areas where agricultural lands are filled with the soil of these Karewas.

 I requested to the concerned civil administration department and the concerned officials that please stop the destruction of these beautiful structures (Karewas) as they are a source of ancient history, and unique biodiversity for Kashmir.