Illegal sand mining leaves behind a trail of scarred landscape in Faridkot | punjab | top | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Apr 18, 2018-Wednesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Illegal sand mining leaves behind a trail of scarred landscape in Faridkot

Dozens of trucks carrying unaccounted sand and gravel consignments worth nearly Rs 5 lakh move out of the area everyday.

punjab Updated: Jan 09, 2018 09:35 IST
Gagandeep Jassowal
The worst hit are Dod and Jandwala villages where landscape, particularly fields, has been scarred, with the adjoining cultivated land facing the threat of a massive cave-in
The worst hit are Dod and Jandwala villages where landscape, particularly fields, has been scarred, with the adjoining cultivated land facing the threat of a massive cave-in(HT Photo)

Illegal sand mining started nearly six months back in villages near Faridkot’s Sadiq Army Cantonment area, soon after the Congress formed government in Punjab even as the party in the run-up to the assembly polls last year had promised to do away with unlawful excavation in the state.

Dozens of trucks carrying unaccounted sand and gravel consignments worth nearly Rs 5 lakh move out of the area everyday.

The worst hit are Dod and Jandwala villages where landscape, particularly fields, has been scarred, with the adjoining cultivated land facing the threat of a massive cave-in.

The local farmers said they fear the sand mafia who enjoys political patronage.

Nearly 5 km from Dod, Jandwala village too had a scarred landscape in the wake of illegal quarrying up to 30-foot deep with groundwater gushing out on the surface.

While just 2-acre quarry was auctioned for mining of sand at Dod, about 15 km from Faridkot town, nearly 5 acres have been devastated with the land dug up to 40 feet deep against the permissible 10 feet as per mining norms.

Moreover, digging has to be done manually and not with machines as per the Mines and Mineral Act norms. Also, the groundwater is seen gushing out on the surface.

Contractor using heavy excavators, boat

Hindustan Times on Monday visited the Dod village sand mine, where the contractor, Hira Singh, is using heavy excavators and a boat which again is in violation of rules.

A mining department official said sand mafia has been causing loss to the state exchequer by resorting to illegal mining. He pegged the annual losses at Rs 2 crore. A man, who claimed to owner of the site, said it was an approved mine but failed to answer the use of boat and excavators.

The workers at the site said the contractor is charging nearly Rs 20,000 for a tipper and Rs 5,000 for tractor-trolley. Local farmers said the sound of heavy machinery is a nuisance to them as the mining goes round-the-clock.

Jandwala also has same story

Nearly 5 km from Dod, Jandwala village too had a scarred landscape in the wake of illegal quarrying up to 30-foot deep with groundwater gushing out on the surface.

General manager (mining) Gurjant Singh, who is in charge of Faridkot district, said the matter came to his knowledge as he joined recently and will ask the department officials to look into the issue. “Mining should be done manually and not with machinery,” he said.

Dod mine site manager Mandeep Singh alias Sunny Monga of Kotkapura said they have been not using any boat to extract sand while excavators are used by the landlord to fill the dug area with soil. “We are not violating any rules and regulations,” he claimed.