Illegal tax by Punjab mining mafia raises concerns

Illegal tax by Punjab mining mafia raises concerns

Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, February 13

The Stone Crusher Owners Association of Kangra district has demanded the intervention of the government against the mining mafia of Punjab. Members of the association met Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati yesterday and submitted a memorandum to him.

Rahul Pathania, a stone crusher owner from Nurpur, said the mining mafia of Punjab was imposing illegal tax of Rs 4,000 on a tipper carrying finished goods from stone crushers of Himachal. This had made the operations of stone crushers of Himachal unviable. “We have taken up the matter with the Minister for Industries Bikram Thakur,” he said.

Harsaran Singh Maini, another stone crusher owner, said the government was going to lose revenue if stone crushers closed down. Materials being produced by stone crushers go for sale through Punjab. The owners sent their material with GST bills. As per rules, no additional tax could be imposed on gravel being exported from Himachal. However, the mining mafia of Punjab had set up nakas and were charging money from tippers. “We will meet Jai Ram Thakur also and seek his intervention,” he said.

The Punjab Government had decided to erect check points in Ropar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur districts to stop the illegally mined material from Himachal. Mining contractors of Punjab had started erecting check points on the borders areas. However, the decision had been flayed by the stone crusher owners of Himachal. They were alleging that the decision had been taken by the Punjab Government under pressure from its mining lobby.

Navdesh Passi, general secretary of the association, alleged that it is unfortunate that the Punjab Government was allowing its mining contractors to stop the flow of finished gravel from stone crusher owners of Himachal. He alleged earlier also, the mining lobby of Punjab had started imposing illegal tax on the trucks carrying gravel from Himachal. The stone crusher owners of Himachal had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the levy of illegal tax. The court had barred the mining lobby of Punjab from imposing the tax.

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