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Drug smugglers running sand mining biz, Ferozepur DC writes to chief secy

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Ravinder Vasudeva, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON FEB 06, 2020 10:12 PM IST

Allotment of a ‘khud (quarry)’ in Ferozepur district has come under scanner after the deputy commissioner wrote to the chief secretary to immediately stop sand mining in the area, claiming that “drug and arms smugglers quarrying sand along the Indo-Pak border could pose a threat to the national security”.

The quarry in contention is situated at Kaamal Wala village falling in Ferozepur assembly constituency from where Sutlej river enters into Pakistan.

The January 31 letter by deputy commissioner Chander Gaind to the chief secretary says he acted on the complaints by some locals naming four history-sheeter brothers — Kuldeep Singh Billa (in jail), Iqbal Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Kewal Singh Fauji (all from Kaamal Wala), and Jagga Singh from Bhangu Wala — involved in sand mining. Gaind joined as Ferozepur DC on February 2.

It could not be ascertained immediately whether the history-sheeters named out by the DC are doing the mining on behalf of the company — Prime Vision Industries Ltd — that has the mining rights at the site or were doing on their own in an illegal manner.

Hindustan Times has learnt that ‘Prime Vision’ is a Noida-based company and Nimit Kumar and Kwach Kumar are its directors. The directors could not be contacted for a comment.

Amarjit Singh, executive engineer of irrigation department that supervises mining in Punjab, denied any knowledge of the issue, saying the quarry was allotted to ‘Prime Vision Industries Ltd’ and there was no contention from locals.

SHO report backs DC’s apprehension

Gaind, through Ferozepur SSP, sought a report from the Arifke police station SHO and he cited that the four brothers and Jagga Singh have close association with Pakistan-based smugglers of heroin and weapons.

“They are known to be involved in smuggling of drugs and weapons. The probe has also found that the place where these four brothers have set-up the dump is adjacent to the land owned by another known smuggler Jagga Singh. Since the quarry is close to the border, they could be smuggling drugs and weapons in the garb of sand,” SHO’s report points out.

The report has details of the cases pending against the said smugglers. While Iqbal Singh is facing nine FIRs, including that of recovery of drugs; his brother Kewal Singh, Sukhwinder Singh and Kuldeep Singh Billa have five cases (including that of recovery of 7kg heroin, AK-56 rifles, 2 pistols, 3 magazines registered in 2008). Jagga Singh has more than 15 cases pending against him.

The deputy commissioner in his letter also backed Aarifke SHO’s report. “This report is self-explanatory and we need to immediately stop Kaamal Wala-1 and Kaamal Wala-2 quarries so that national security is not compromised with. The action will also curtail supply of drugs from across the border,” the DC wrote in his letter to the chief secretary. Action on this letter has not been initiated yet, it is learnt.

Intro:

ALARM BELL Ferozepur DC says marked big-time drug and weapon smugglers’ doing mining close to the border can pose a threat to the national security

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