The Punjab irrigation department on Saturday formed a team of officials, led by the chief engineer, to take stock of the illegal mining in the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and also the damage done to the canal by the mafia.
Following the Hindustan Times report on the illegal activities of the mining mafia in the canal, irrigation secretary Kahan Singh Pannu deputed chief engineer Harvinder Singh to take a firsthand information of the spot and activities of the mining mafia. The chief engineer has been asked to submit the preliminary report by Monday.
“The government does not allow any mining from the SYL. If it has happened or is happening, strict action will be taken to control it,” Pannu said, adding that the team had been assigned to take stock of every aspect besides ensuring that no mining took place.
The irrigation department has deployed men at various points to keep a tab on the activities of the mining mafia.
“Following the instructions of the government, we have visited the area and found three vulnerable points, where the mafia has dug up the canal. We have already reported the matter to the police,” said chief engineer Harvinder Singh. He said that at present there is no major danger to the SYL canal, except the loss of revenue to the state because of mining, which had largely been checked.
Hindustan Times had carried a report saying the illegal activities of the mining mafia had done massive loss to the SYL canal, which was constructed in the early 90s. The project has not been completed because Punjab opposed the sharing of waters with Haryana and stopped the construction of the link canal.