Of 74 illegal mining cases in Mohali, 64 still being probed
Of the 74 illegal mining cases registered in Mohali this year, investigation in as many as 64 cases is still pending. Of the total cases, there have been six convictions while four others are under trial.
The mining department claims that it is grappling with a major staff crunch as against sanctioned posts of six sub-divisional officers (SDOs), 15 junior engineers (JE) and 25 clerical staff, there are only two SDOs, five JEs and three clerical staff members. The condition worsened after the mining and geology departments were separated.
To add to the problem, there has been a spurt in illegal mining cases, especially along Ghaggar river in the Dera Bassi region, ever since the monsoon ban on mining has been lifted.
Additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Charandev Singh Mann, who is also a nodal officer for mining-related issues, said that four cases are in the court while there has been a conviction in six cases. “As many as 64 are still under investigation. The police department has been asked to speed up probe so that conviction works as a deterrent for those involved in illegal mining,” he said.
Besides this, the district administration has sought a report from all stake-holding departments and sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) regarding employees absent from the duty on checkpoints.
“There were reports that employees were not present at checkpoints at the time of inspection by officials. We will take strict action against them,” he said, adding, “We have sought a detailed report.”
Staff crunch in police department
Police are always the first to reach the spots where illegal mining is reported.
However, the cops too are facing a staff shortage. The Mohali police has 2,700 sanctioned posts, but only around 1,800 have been filled up. With over 30% of vacancies, the department is maintaining law and order in a district with a population of 10 lakh.
Besides this, cops say that most illegal miners use vehicles without registration numbers due to which they are unable to reach the real culprits.