Illegal sand mining
Giving two hoots to the ban, illegal sand mining was going on unabated in connivance with the local supporters and contractors in Nakodar sub division of Jalandhar for the last around three months. The residents of three villages namely Khairulapur, Akbarpur, Bangiwal in Nakodar were witnessing illegal mining day and night right under the nose of the district administration.A complaint in this regard was lodged by BJP SC Morcha President Ashwani Kumar at different platforms including the online portal launched by the district administration. “I sent number of complaints through email to Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar, SSP Jalandhar Rural, General Manager Mining Jalandhar but no action was taken against the sand mafia”, he said.
Interestingly, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has strictly directed to ensure zero tolerance approach towards corruption and stated that no illegal mining would be allowed in the state. “A local Block Level Officer Pawan Kumar was under scanner for illegal sand mining. On the other hand, the Anti-Mining Vigilance Unit has not conducted any raids in the last six months. Surprisingly, if a raid is to be conducted, the mining mafia gets the information beforehand and they wind up the operations”, he said.Ashwani Kumar said that the sand mafia was also violating the guidelines of Environmental Department. “The sand mafia has dug the Sutlej river bed upto 35 feet, which was gross violation of Environment Clearance from SEIAA (State Environment Impact Assessment Authority). Infact, the sand mafia has been openly threatening villagers that not to report the matter”, he added.
In his complaint, he also pointed out that the sand was being sold at five times higher rate, which was causing a massive loss to the state exchequer. “The mining mafia was earning Rs 20 to 25 lakh per day while the Punjab government was losing huge revenue to the tune of Rs 7 to 8 crore every month”, he maintained.Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma was not available for comments. However, GM Mining Mukesh Khanna said that Ashwani Kumar lodged a complaint yesterday and the matter was in his notice. “We have been doing regular checking and also informed the police”, he added.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court has directed all the DGP’s that police need not wait for a complaint to be filed under the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act to take action against illegal mining. Under this act, even the machinery used was supposed to be seized and an immediate FIR to be lodged under section 379 and 114 of the IPC and violation of the Mines & Mineral Act, Pollution Act in illegal mining cases.
The offence of mining of sand without permission is punishable under Section 21 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act, 1957).
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