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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Illegal mining: 70 crushers face the axe in Pathankot

Prabhjit Singh, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, October 16, 2013
First Published: 00:07 IST(16/10/2013) | Last Updated: 12:28 IST(16/10/2013)

After a week-long exercise to inspect the stone-crushing units facing charges of illegal mining, the Pathankot district administration on Tuesday decided to cut electricity connections of 70 units with immediate effect.

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The rest 140 of the 210 units in the district had also been asked not to operate till they filed their returns, Pathankot deputy commissioner C Siben told HT.

The next step for the state officials at the helm of affairs would be to assess the huge haul of raw materials of boulders and stones accumulated on the crushing sites in the next two days.

This would help probe the quantum of illegal mining taking place on the riverbeds of the Ravi and Chakki, official sources said, while confirming that the inspection would begin from Wednesday.

The crushing units found with such material excavated from the riverbeds would be booked under the Mining Act and under Section 379 of the IPC on charges of theft, the deputy commissioner said.

Sibin, who presided over the crucial meeting that was attended by senior mining officials from Chandigarh and the Pathankot SDM, had formed four teams that toured the riverbanks in the past four days, scanning crushers and their records.

The crusher owners who had got their units registered, some 125 in number, in the past two days, have been given a month's time to produce their returns and other valid documents pertaining to the crushing consignments.

The officials also laid stress on shifting about 40 crushers away from the riverbeds as mandatory under the state's stone crushing policy.

In August, the Punjab and Haryana high court had given a one-year breather to the state government to shift all such units out of the riverbeds across the state.

Such units also included those on the Sutlej and smaller tributaries like Swan and seasonal rivulets.

The state administration had initiated its massive drive to check illegal mining at the stone-crushing sites after the Punjab and Haryana high court served a notice on the state following the HT news reports on illegal mining last week.

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