Sukhbir warns officials against aiding illegal mining, goonda tax
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday warned civil and police officials against allegedly helping a Congress minister and other party leaders in illegal mining and collection of “goonda” tax.
Addressing a dharna in front of the deputy commissioner’s office in Sector 76, Mohali, Sukhbir said all sand mining activities in Mohali were illegal as no mines were operational in the district in government records. “All mining activity taking place in Mohali is illegal and officials not taking action will be punished as per law when the SAD-BJP forms a government in the state,” said Sukhbir.
The SAD chief also warned district police against protecting Congress “goons” collecting “goonda “tax from tractor-trailers and trucks ferrying soil and gravel. He said the cost of a truckload of sand has doubled from ₹12,000 to ₹22,000 which has hurt the interests of the common man. “In addition, a goonda tax of ₹5,000 per truck was being levied, which was being facilitated by police officials,” he alleged.
Alleging that the Congress was looting the state exchequer, Sukhbir said the Capt Amarinder Singh government had first claimed that it would realise ₹1,000 crore from sand mining, but it has collected only ₹38 crore to date. He said under the new mining policy in July, sand mines were auctioned for ₹309 crore after forming seven clusters to favour monopolisation.
Dera Bassi legislator NK Sharma said all “shamlat” (village common land) has been dug up in the district by the mining mafia. “The sand mafia has not even spared the area near Chhatbir zoo where excavations have been done up to 60 feet,” he alleged.
He said after the Mubarakpur Crushers’ Association protested against the collection of “goonda” tax and complained to Mohali SSP Kuldeep Chahal, false cases were registered against its president and other office-bearers of the association and their crushers were sealed.