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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Administration soft-pedalling on illegal mining in Phillaur river

Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times  Phillaur (Jalandhar), July 24, 2013
First Published: 19:56 IST(24/7/2013) | Last Updated: 21:41 IST(24/7/2013)

Ignoring state deputy chief minister's directions to all deputy commissioners to check illegal mining, sand mining is going unchecked at Chuggian Maha Singh village in Phillaur-sub-division.

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What's worse industry department officials are refusing to take any action, leave alone register an FIR, even as excavation of sand has been done from 20-25 ft in the area against the prescribed limit of nine feet.

Officials have also failed to impound machinery used by the influential accused for the illegal mining operations.

Nawanshahr mining officer Hardev Singh who was assigned to check the site in the village said: "We have found that excavation of sand was done from 20-25 feet, much above the permissible limit of 9 feet as mentioned in the agreement with contractors."

However, he claimed that this was illegal, but a violation of the agreement.

General manager (industries) Jalandhar Bhupinder Singh said that government had permitted the suite to be used for mining.

"The department has ordered suspension of work at the site and notice will be issued to contractor Raj Kumar of Moga district."
On the delay in registration of an FIR, he claimed that he was yet to get a report and further action would be taken after he studies the document.

Residents of villages Chuggian Maha Singh, Nagar, Sagnewal Raipur and Sole Bajara Chuggian, had complained to administration about illegal sand mining.

On Monday, when officials realised that people were planning to hold  major protest over the issues, Nawanshahr mining officer Hardev Singh, SP (D) Rajinder Singh along with Phillaur SHO reached at spot and pacified the people by assuring stringent action against the violators.

However, a protest was still held on Wednesday. Satnam Singh, a resident of Sagnewal Raipur, alleged that  politically influential people had been violating the law.

"I had filed a writ petition in Punjab and Haryana high court on July 19. The court had ordered the administration to stop illegal mining," added Singh. However, nothing was done.
 
Colonel Kuldeep Singh, a local leader of Jamhuri Kisan Sabha alleged that some of leaders of ruling party were also involved. He said that the mining had made the villages situated on the Satluj river bank more vulnerable to flooding.

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