28 mining factories, an unauthorized petrol pump and a restaurant were unearthed in wildlife sanctuary of Nagarparkar
25 Persons were nominated in illegal factories case; a separate FIR was lodged against petrol pump and restaurant owners
By GR Junejo
Mithi: Over two dozen Illegal mining factories were found operating in a vast area falling under the wildlife sanctuaries in Nagarparkar Taluka of Desert District Tharparkar.
A team of Sindh Wildlife Department unearthed twenty-eight illegal factories, a petrol pump and a restaurant operating in wildlife sanctuaries’ area spread over 8000 sq. km. The factories included of stone, salt, clay and China Clay.
The Wildlife Department has registered a cases nominating 25 accused, said to be the owners of the unauthorized factories. Two separate cases were lodged against the owners of petrol pump and the restaurant established at the land near Sanga Lake. The FIRs were registered under Sindh Wildlife Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act 2020.
The accused nominated in the FIRs include Abdul Ghafoor Panhwar, Ali Muhammad, Shahid Qaimkhani, Anwar Zohaib, Atif, Chodhry Saleem, Haji Wali Muhammad Rahmoon, Wali Muhammad Khaskheli, Chodhry Naeem, Haji Fakeer Muhammad, Iqbal, Tapedar Subhan Mahar, Ramazan, Billo Chodhry, Javed Chodhry and others.
Game Officer Raid Party Asad Ali Marri stated in the FIR that for excavation of white clay the accused had dug wells in the prohibited area.
Asad Marri told media that this area was declared wildlife sanctuary in 1980 to protect the wildlife by providing the endangered animals a safe and natural habitat. “The Wildlife Department had strictly prohibited any kind of human activities in sanctuaries and the government of Sindh had also imposed ban on granting leases for mining purposes,” he said.
He disclosed that the illegal mining and human activities have caused great loss to wildlife as rare species of birds and animals have migrated from this area. “The illegal mining has also impacted on environment,” he added.
“When we inquired about any official permission or lease papers, the owners failed to produce any document,” he Asad Marri told adding that the Mines and Mineral Development Department cannot grant any lease without NOC of Wildlife Department.
The operators of unauthorized factories had claimed having got 20 leases.
“Since the owners of unauthorized factories had no documentary evidence, we lodged FIR against them. They will be imposed heavy fine and in case of non-payment, the matter will be referred to the court of law,” he said.
The question however remains unanswered how these unauthorized factories in such a large number were operating since long under the nose of district administration, Mines and Mineral Development Department, Wildlife Department, Police and other law enforcement agencies, as no civilian vehicle could pass unchecked from the check-posts. The illegal factories had been transporting China Clay and other minerals on daily basis in trucks.