Residents of Chakkmirpur village on the Punjab-Himachal Pradesh border continued their protest against alleged illegal mining for the fifth day on Saturday.
Protesters say that the mining takes place in Himachal Pradesh, but heavy vehicles carrying the output pass through their village, causing environmental pollution. They also alleged that roads in the area have not been built to carry such heavy vehicle load.
Village sarpanch Kamlesh Devi said: Vehicular traffic is a big threat to the environment of all villages in Punjab near the mining site in Himachal Pradesh. More than 100 vehicles run on roads that are unfit for carrying such loads."
She added: "Large-scale illegal mining has been going on in the neighbouring state. In gross violation of norms, digging more than 50-feet is rampant in the area, causing serious threat of floods."
Surender Singh, a village resident, said: "The mining has affected the life of residents in ten villages including Chakkmirpur, Tote, Sathwan, Hangwal, Ulaha, Tode Katwal, Bela, Saryala and Jalalpur."
He added: "If not stopped immediately, the situation could lead to a disaster in the area in the rainy season." Ravinder Singh, another resident, said: "The administration has not shown any signs of even listening to their demands. We will be forced to step up the agitation, if our demand of diverting the traffic and stopping illegal mining is not met,"
Block development and panchayat officer (BDPO), Yudhvir Singh said: "The main concern of residents is to stop the plying of trucks from their villages."He added that he had apprised SDM Rahul Chaba about the situation, and the administration would soon find a solution to the problem.
However, Chaba said that he was not aware of the matter. "I will talk to the BDPO concerned to understand the villagers' demands and will act accordingly."