Effect of River Mining on Cropping System in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh
About 52 per cent of the population in India depends on agriculture for its livelihood. Proper utilisation of land resource halts the process of land degradation and increases productivity. The factors of land degradation may include improper agricultural practices, indiscriminate extraction of sand and stones from the rivers, etc. The indiscriminate sand and stone extraction from the rivers affects the water availability for irrigation and thereby affecting the productivity of the crops. The study was conducted in a hill State (Himachal Pradesh) of India. The Neugal is a small river among different rivers of the hill State and its water is used for irrigation and drinking by the people of the catchment area. The river has become a victim of sand and stone mining as the extraction has increased over the years due to urbanisation and economic development. Water level of the river has also gone down and during the summer the people of the region experience water crises. Therefore, the study was conducted in the catchment area irrigated by this river to analyse the effect of sand and stone extraction on the cropping pattern.
The study suggests that the farmers should be educated to go for high value and low water-requiring and demand-driven crops in their production programme. Prudent efforts should be made by government agencies for systematic / scientific extraction of mining materials and control the over-exploitation of river mining materials so that water table of rivers may not affect the cropping system adversely. The study concluded that river mining causes drying up of water sources, lowering of water table, soil erosion and shortage of water. Therefore, efforts should be made to address these issues by enforcing suitable laws and regulations.
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