RENDERED JOBLESS
Kashmir Life|April 11, 2021
As non-local mining concerns bagged most of the mining works across Kashmir, tendered at the peak of internet shutdown, thousands of people have been rendered jobless, reports Umar Mukhtar
Umar Mukhtar
Nizar Ahmad Gannie, 37, a resident of Bellow in Pulwama, is eagerly waiting for the spring to come. He needs work to support his family. Gannie is sitting at home with no work to do for a year. He hopes the spring would bring back the construction activity and with it he would again find work.

Earlier, Gannie was extracting boulders of the nearby Saas nallah that flows near his house. “I was young, around 16 years of age since I started extracting boulders and earn my living from it,” Gannie said. “My job was to load the boulders onto tractor trolleys”.

TENDERING WITHOUT INTERNET

But last year in January 2020, after the abrogation of Article 370, the government asked for the tenders for the auctioning of the mineral blocks and a ban on mining was put in place for those who didn’t had formal permissions. The auctioning happened at a point in time when there was a complete ban on the internet in Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, all the tenders were submitted by non-locals as a result of which the mining jobs were also allotted to them. The people who were earning their livelihood and were dependent on these mineral deposits became the first casualty of the government’s diktat.

The non-locals who secured the bids against lakhs of rupees brought heavy machinery into the rivers and nallas to extract more and more and did not hire manual labourers. “The outsiders just need revenues, how come they would understand our pain and suffering,” said Gannie.

Gannie used to load around four tractors a day and was earning Rs 400 to 500. “A person could earn more if he will load more trolleys but this work is a physical labour and needs much of exertion,” he said.

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