The illegal practice of extracting the precious granite stones from the famous Karoonjhar hills in Tharparkar district is still going on unabated and this time reportedly by some contractors directly under the control and command of the Federal government as well as some local influential figures for the construction purposes. The beautiful hills of Karoonjhar near the Indian borders with Pakistan spread over 19 kilometers in the range with the maximum heights of 305 meters have not only attracted the tourists from Pakistan and beyond but also invited the greedy people to mar their beauty for the granite extraction for the past many years.
Karoonjhar hills and the Parkar region are not only famous for the beautiful peacocks but also for the ancient Jain temples and the natural beauty during the monsoon season. The leaders of Karoonjhar Sujag Forum, a body which was formed last year to agitate against the illegal extraction of precious granite stones from the famous Karoonjhar hills as well as the people from different walks of life talking to the media persons on Tuesday again requested the high-ups of both Federal and Sindh governments to take strong notice and stern actions against those involved to save the famous Karoonjhar hills from further damage and destruction.
Allah Rakhio Khoso, Zulfikar Ali Khoso, Ramesh Karoonjhari and others talking to this reporter alleged that the influential builders and contractors in a bid to carry out various development schemes in the region, were again busy extracting granite and gravel from the beds of rivulets and from the hills for the construction purposes near Nagarparkar town and other areas of the Tharparkar district by using heavy machinery in their their illegal practices.
They said that if the contractors and builders were left unbridled by the concerned authorities they would cause massive damage at the various sites of the Karoonjhar hills spread over vast areas. They deplored the fact that the illegal practice recently resumed by the greedy contractors and builders a few weeks back, despite a complete ban on the extraction of stones in the hilly region imposed by Sindh High Court’s Hyderabad circuit bench,, was causing the irreparable damage at various points of the hilly area of Parkar region of Tharparkar . They said that the court passed the orders on a petition filed by one Advocate Ghulam Mustafa Hingorjo, against the illegal practice in 2019.
The court banning the extraction had directed the concerned officials to ensure the protection of all hills of the Parkar region. They said that it was not only contempt of court but also an ugly practice that had marred the beauty of the region. ”The greed to extract China clay from the hilly region of Tharparkar district has already caused massive damage to the natural beauty and the deep drenches which were dug for the extraction of the clay already claimed the lives of the area people” they added. The leaders reminded the PPP leadership as well as the lawmakers from Tharparkar of their promises to save the pebbles of Karoonjhar from more damages and destruction.
They said that after the uproar created by the lovers of Karoonjhar in 2019 when the extraction at various points had picked up the momentum by the greedy contractors in connivance with local influential political figures, number of lawmakers on floor of Sindh Assembly had promised to form the committee to protect and preserve the famous hills. The leaders of the forum as well as nature lovers from across the country have asked the high-ups of Imran Khan-led PTI government to take strong notice of the fresh extraction by some officials and authorities under ‘the control and command of the federal government and order the inquiry into the illegal practice to damage the beautiful hills.
The activists believed that such practices resumed by some powerful people would also badly damage the ecology, environment, the natural habitats of birds and endangered species and the beauty of nature which had attracted the thousands of the people from all over the world to visit the region this year after the bountiful rainfalls.
They said that Karoonjhar over the past few years had become the hub of the tourism adding they underscored the need to further promote tourism at Karoonjhar hills by installing a chairlift at top of the hills and by opening more resorts. “If the ongoing extraction was not stopped in the light of court orders they would once again take to the streets in Tharparkar towns to register their protest against such practices, they warned.
While, the prominent rights activists as well as members of the society from across the country on Tuesday again took to the social media and condemned the fresh extraction by sharing the pictures of various sites from where the stones were being extracted through heavy machinery. They asked the authorities to come into the action to save the beautiful hills.