(MENAFN– Tribal News Network) Aftab Mohmand
To curb the menace of illegal gold mining in Nowshera, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minerals Department conducted a crackdown, resulting in the arrest of 13 individuals. The arrests were made during an operation targeting unauthorized gold mining activities along the Indus River.
The raid was spearheaded by Additional Secretary Minerals Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Musarat Zaman, who not only apprehended the offenders but also seized and rendered inoperative heavy machinery used in the illicit gold mining operations.
Senior journalist Mushtaq Pracha, based in Nowshera, highlighted that the extraction of gold from rivers, spanning from Chitral to Khushalgarh of Nowshera, involves the use of excavator machines. During the winter months, when river water levels drop and glaciers melt, the sand rises, making it opportune for gold discovery. This unlawful practice has persisted for years, with billions of rupees worth of gold extracted from the Kabul River alone. Notorious mafias often invest in excavator machines, either renting them out for gold extraction or employing locals for the search.
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Paracha underscored that the gold, originating from the melting glaciers in Chitral and surrounding mountain ranges, eventually finds its way into the Kabul River and Indus River. Each excavator can yield three to four kilograms of gold, managed by skilled experts hired by gold mining enterprises. Local influencers are complicit in these illegal activities, employing thousands of excavators for riverbed digging day and night.
Despite sporadic operations, minimal punishments for offenders contribute to the continuation of illegal excavations. The practice not only damages the riverbeds but also has environmental repercussions. Paracha emphasized the need for stringent legislation imposing severe penalties and called for the full mobilization of all institutions, including security agencies.
The Nowshera district administration reported the formulation of an action plan to halt illegal gold extraction, with four cases registered against the 13 arrested individuals. A committee, comprising district administration, police, and other institutions, has been established to counter gold mining activities. Checkpoints will be erected along the Indus River and other locations, enforcing the law and preventing the illegal extraction of gold.
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