Illegal sand mining: 6 contractors booked; Punjab CM Capt Amarinder to meet DCs, SSPs of 14 districts
A day after chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s tweet on illegal mining, district police have booked official contractors of all six quarries in the district. Twenty people, mostly drivers, present at the sites when a district administration team raided and seized the machinery on Tuesday have also been arrested.
Meanwhile, the CM has in Chandigarh called a meeting of DCs and SSPs of 14 districts to discuss the issue on Thursday.
Those booked in Nawanshahr are Jagvir Inder Singh, owner of Burj Tehal Das quarry; Randeep Singh, of Bairsaal quarry; Poonam Aggarwal from Calcutta of Lallewal quarry; Sunil Kumar of Mandala quarry; Kudratdeep Singh of Malikpur quarry and Mohali-based Pinjore Royalty company of Khosa quarry. “We have booked official contractors of quarries and will ask them to join investigation,” said Nawanshahr SSP Satinder Singh. Rahon Police have registered an FIR under the Mines and Minerals Act, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Act against the 26 accused.
HT has accessed a copy of the FIR that states that during the raid, police found that sand was being extracted from areas that were not even allotted to contractors. “Fake ‘Vatment’ slips with forged stamps were recovered from the possession of those arrested. These were not issued by any department.”
Work on, despite...
Even as, on paper, the mining department had suspended work at the Malikpur quarry, extraction of sand was on. Field mining officer Surinderjit Singh said, “Work at the Malikpur quarry was suspended on February 6, after the contractor failed to pay his instalments.” A resident, however, said, “At least, 60-70 trucks filled with sand passed outside our houses every day.”
The use of machines like JCBs, poclains and excavators for mining is illegal, yet contractors deploy these with impunity. In its raids on the six quarries, police seized two poclains, two JCBs, one tractor and 30 tippers.
Make names public as I am being dragged into it: MLA
A day after Nawanshahr district authorities’ crackdown on illegal mining on the banks of Sutlej in Malikpur, local Congress MLA Angad Saini on Wednesday asked the government to make public names of those indulging in the illegal activity.
Saini raised the issue in the pre-budget meeting of Congress MLAs with Amarinder, who had spotted and acted against illegal mining by the Sutlej from his helicopter on Tuesday. The mine is allotted to Kudratdeep Singh. “As my name is being dragged in the matter, I want the government to clarify who owned and deployed the JCB machines for mining,” said Saini.
“In past three months, I repeatedly asked the Nawanshahr ADC (G) to take action against illegal mining. He was under pressure and he stopped taking my calls,” said the MLA. In January, Saini filed a privilege motion against the ADC for not adhering to his complaints. Officials said the name senior state government functionary’s nephew was doing rounds for flouting norms at the mining site. Other MLAs at the meeting praised the CM.
(With Gurpreet Singh Nibber)