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Illegal mining in Punjab: Five months on, state yet to recover Rs 65 lakh from two officials

Sources claimed that the market rate of the illegally mined sand was around Rs 3 crore and if it was used to make bricks, the loss to the exchequer could go up.

punjab Updated: Aug 04, 2018 12:29 IST
Gagandeep Jassowal
Gagandeep Jassowal
Hindustan Times, Moga
Illegal mining,Illegal mining in Punjab,Punjab
The land of Janer village has been laid waste due to rampant illegal mining from 2014-16, a state government inquiry report had found.(HT photo)

Five months after Moga deputy commissioner Dilraj Singh wrote to director, rural development and panchayat department, to recover Rs 65 lakh loss to the state exchequer caused due to illegal mining following the negligence of Akali sarpanch of Janer village, Malwinder Singh, and panchayat secretary, Harcharan Singh, nothing has moved on the ground. Janer is just 7km from district headquarters.

Malwinder and Harcharan had been indicted in an inquiry that the rural development and panchayat department had started in October 2017.

The general manager-cum-mining officer had stated on record that illegal mining had been taking place on panchayat land.

He had also recommended legal action against the duo.

The inquiry had also quantified the sand that was illegally mined at 3.3 lakh tonne from 21 acre of panchayat land during 2014-16 when the SAD-BJP government was in power.

In February 2018, when the inquiry report came out, HT had carried a report in its February 25 edition, titled, ‘State to recover Rs 65 lakh from sarpanch, panchayat secy’.

After the publication of the report, the then financial commissioner of the rural department, Anurag Verma, had suspended the sarpanch, Malwinder, and panchayat secretary Harcharan.

Verma had also sent a recommendation to minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa to take action against the block development and panchayatofficer Jagir Singh.

Illegally mined sand would have fetched Rs 3 crore

Sources claimed that the market rate of the illegally mined sand was around Rs 3 crore and if it was used to make bricks, the loss to the exchequer could go up.

The rural and panchayat development department had also asked the district development and panchayat officer to recover Rs 65 lakh from the sarpanch and the panchayat secretary and take action under the Panchayati Raj Act for the assessment of loss.

DDPO Lakhwinder Singh said the recovery of the loss had be en delayed due to frequent transfers and would be complete soon.

Moga deputy commissioner, Dilraj Singh said, “We have not received any orders from the department to initiate any legal action against the sarpanch and the panchayat secretary.”

Financial commissioner Anuraj Verma said, “ The loss will be recovered from the officials at all costs.”

First Published: Aug 04, 2018 12:18 IST