Deep nexus: Deep ditches abound in border villages of Punjab

Amritsar hamlets corroborate BSF’s submission in HC on unabated illegal mining

Deep nexus: Deep ditches abound in border villages of Punjab

Since January 1, the Amritsar police have seized 60 sand-laden vehicles. File photo

Tribune News Service

PK Jaiswar

Amritsar, August 4

Deep ditches in villages along the International Border (IB) with Pakistan stand testimony to the Border Security Force’s submission in the High Court that mining near the IB continues unabated.

In its report dated August 1, the BSF has stated that mining begins before sunrise and goes on till late night. At times, it goes on throughout the night.

“Hundreds of labourers”, whose antecedents had not been verified by the local police, so close to the International Border was perceived to be a “big security hazard”, the BSF has submitted in the HC.

This is not for the first time that the BSF authorities have raised a concern. They had earlier written to the Central authorities regarding it.

Residents of border villages corroborate the BSF’s claims. Dr Satnam Singh Ajnala and Rattan Singh Randhawa of the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha say rampant illegal mining has created deep ditches, posing a major security threat.

“Sand beyond the prescribed limits is excavated round the clock. The mining mafia is in cahoots with political leaders,” Ajnala claims. He suggests the state government should constitute a board to put an end to the illegal activity.

Randhawa says illegal mining is rampant in the entire border belt, including Bhindia, Lopoke, Ajnala and Ramdass areas, while the authorities look the other way.

Since January 1, the police have registered 85 cases in connection with illegal sand mining. In all, 41 persons have been arrested and 60 vehicles laden with illegally excavated sand seized in Amritsar.

The police said 86.5 sq ft of illegally excavated sand was also seized during this period. The majority of seizures were made during the late-night checking.

When contacted, Amritsar (Rural) SSP Swapan Sharma simply refused to acknowledge BSF’s submission in the HC. “No case of illegal mining has been reported in the district in the past two months. The illegal activity has stopped,” he claimed

Sources, however, say illegal mining has been suspended because rivers are in spate in the monsoon.

Happy Kumar, Mining Officer, said: “The mining activity has been suspended till September 30 because of monsoon. The Mining Department conducts regular checks to nail offenders.”

DC Harpreet Singh Sudan said, “The district administration does not know about the BSF’s submission in the HC. The administration will take prompt action whenever we get instructions from the state government.”

Tarn Taran sites not auctioned, but mining on

In the absence of auction of sand mining sites in Tarn Taran district, illegal mining continues on a large scale round the clock.

Sand is excavated illegally from the Mand area, which is along the Beas river.

This year, the district police have registered 24 cases of illegal mining and arrested

26 persons. The police have not submitted a chargesheet even in a single case. In all, 29 sand-laden vehicles have been impounded during raids.

Mining Officer Vishal Mehta said, “Mining sites in Tarn Taran cluster have not been auctioned. There is no permission for mining.” OC

Survey of sites underway in Ropar

  • To bring transparency, the Mining Department is set to complete a survey of all mining sites in Ropar district
  • The report is being compiled by a private company in coordination with officials of different departments, including mining and revenue
  • It would help in assessing the variety and quantity of material available at different spots
  • A post-monsoon survey will also be conducted to assess the quantity of material available at mining sites
  • DC Dr Preeti Yadav said the report would be put in public domain and people can raise objections, if any
  • “If someone wants his land to be included in the mining zone, he can apply with the department,” said the DC. TNS

Mining beyond limits

Sand beyond the prescribed limits is excavated round the clock. The mining mafia is in cahoots with political leaders. — Dr Satnam Singh Ajnala, Jamhoori kisan sabha

No case in two months: SSP

No case of illegal mining has been reported in the district in the past two months. The illegal activity has stopped. — Swapan Sharma, Amritsar (Rural) SSP

#Pakistan

Tribune Shorts


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