Tribune News Service
Ropar, October 31
Even as the collection of “goonda tax” by mining mafia in the district continues for the last two months, two allottees of quarries at Diwari and Panjola villages have alleged that sand was illegally being lifted from their sites.
Holding a press conference, Balwinder Singh and Amarinder Singh Babby levelled allegations against Rakesh Kumar Choudhary, new mining contractor in the district. They claimed that Choudhary was behind lifting of sand from their sites.
Balwinder said he was allotted a quarry in 2017 at Diwari village for three years, but he could not get the consent to operate as environment clearance was awaited for the project. He alleged that though he could not operate the quarry due to unavailability of environment clearance, it was noticed that sand was being lifted from his quarry at the behest of Choudhary, who had been allotted nearly 10 quarries in the district a few months ago.
Babby claimed that he and Kamljeet Dhillon, an allottee of sand quarry at Panjola village, were partners. He alleged that Choudhary was illegally lifting sand from his quarry.
They alleged that they had written to Chief Secretary, Director-General of Police, Director of Mining Department as well as the district authorities, including the Deputy Commissioner, in this regard, but no action was taken against the "offender".
However, Deputy Commissioner Sumeet Jarangal said he was on leave and didn’t get any such complaint till now.
Ropar Mining Department XEN Rupinder Pal Singh Pabla also said he didn’t get any such complaint. He, however, said no quarry was operational in the district at present. Chaudhary and others had been allotted quarries during bidding, but none of them had been issued environment clearance till now.
On the other hand, Choudhary claimed that he was authorised to operate five quarries as he had already procured environment clearance for the same. He even brushed aside the claims of Balwinder Singh regarding ownership of Diwari quarry and allegations regarding digging at Panjola quarry. He claimed that Balwinder was not an allottee of Diwari quarry and Kamlajeet, the allottee of Panjola quarry, was his partner.
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