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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Mohali admn to safeguard stone crushers against mining mafia

A team led by SDM visited the sites and assured stone crushers of police security

cities Updated: Nov 19, 2019 00:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
         

Following complaints of extortion by mining mafia from owners of stone-crushing sites in Handesra and Mubarakpur of Dera Bassi, a team led by sub-divisional magistrate Himanshu Jain on Monday visited the sites and assured the stone crushers of police security.

Earlier, owing to extortion (goonda tax), around 105 stone-crushing sites were closed down. After the SDM’s assurance, the sites began functioning.

During the visit, the team could not find anything and recorded the statements of the owners. The owners also provided the team with evidences of goonda tax to the team. They alleged that tippers and other vehicle drivers ferrying material from Haryana were being forced to shell out money as royalty against the loaded material.

The goonda tax was being collected by the mining mafia by setting up unauthorised nakas in the areas, the owners said.

Himanshu Jain said, the deputy superintendent of police was asked to increase patrolling in the area.

“With help of the evidences provided by the stone crushers, we are trying to identify the
culprits.”

Vice-president of Mubarikpur Stone Crushers Association ,Ranjit Singh Teja, said, “We have recorded our statements before the SDM and we have been assured safety.”

“We have provided them with enough evidences against persons collecting the tax. After assurance, we all have decided to make the stone crushers functional,” he said.

“The mining mafia has been harassing us by stopping our trucks in unauthorised nakas. They operate in connivance with the police and mining authorities,” he alleged.

Mining department seals
illegal mining machinery

The mining department on Monday seized a Poclain machinery used for illegal mining in Chatt village behind Chhatbir zoo.

After receiving the complaints, the team visited the site and found one machine. During the check, the workers left work and fled from the spot leaving their machinery behind.

Deputy commissioner of Mohali, Girish Dayalan, said, “Our team is preparing a report and finding out the owner of the land, where mining was going on. The mining was on in parts of a private land and in some parts of forest land. We will register a case after the report is filed,” he said.

Mohali has witnessed a steep increase in illegal mining cases in past three years. The district police had registered 24 cases of illegal mining in 2016, 67 in 2017 and 79 cases in 2018.

Since January this year, the police have registered 23 cases of illegal mining and maximum number of cases were reported from Ghaggar river belt in Dera Bassi sub-division.

The police and administration claimed that no illegal mining activity was going on, but the illegal plundering of natural resources and increasing number of cases along the rivulets is proving to be a major challenge for the authorities.