Tribune News Service
Moga, December 24
Acting on the news report, “In Moga, drug mafia takes to sand mining” which was published in these columns on December 2, the Rural Development and Panchayat Department has begun investigations into illegal sand mining on panchayat land at Daulewala village in the Dharamkot sub-division of the district.
This village, which was also known as the “drug hub of Punjab”, has of late fallen prey to the mining mafia. The youths, who were previously involved in smuggling and illegal sale of drugs, had now allegedly turned to illegal mining on the village common land and a few private properties in connivance with the village panchayat.
A senior official of the Rural Development and Panchayat Department revealed that a notice had been served on Gurmeet Kaur, sarpanch of the village, through the block development and panchayat officer to initiate departmental and legal action against her. The department has also asked the district mining officer to conduct a physical verification of the sites from where sand has been illegally extracted by the mafia and also prepare an estimate of the financial loss to the state exchequer.
The Tribune had reported that a portion of panchayat land on the Maseetan link road had been robbed off its fertility. The land, where wheat and paddy were sown for several years, has now turned barren with trenches as a result of illegal mining.
The land where two ponds were to be constructed has deep trenches. Grants were received for the ponds, but they were never constructed. The movement of trucks and trailers laden with sand has damaged streets in the village.
The villagers alleged that drug smugglers had started illegal mining business under political patronage by roping in many youths of the village.
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