Forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri has directed senior forest officers to constitute special teams to check the widespread illegal mining on forest land in Baddi-Barotiwala- Nalagarh industrial belt, after receiving complaints against officials of the Nalagarh forest division.
The minister, who had halted at Nalagrah on his way to Una on Saturday evening, was apprised of the alleged failure of Nalagarh divisional forest officer SP Singh in checking illegal mining on forest land, especially on the banks and in adjoining areas of Sarsa river.
Congress leaders, including elected representatives of the panchayati raj institutions, also complained that the mining mafia had axed more than 150 fully-grown trees of various species along the Sarsa river during the process of extracting sand and other material in the area.
They also alleged that the mining mafia, in connivance with certain forest officials, had destroyed around 150 bigha under the protected forest area in Nalagarh forest division during the past two months.
They urged the minister to order a high-level probe into the alleged forest official-mafia nexus and the digging of the forest land.
Later, Bharmouri summoned the divisional forest officer and directed him to launch a massive campaign against the mafia and warned that any laxity would be viewed seriously.
Congress leaders, along with former Nalagarh Congress MLA Lakhwinder Rana had earlier complained to the principal conservator of forests about the lackadaisical approach of Nalagarh DFO in initiating action against the mining mafia, but to no avail.