Illegal mining unchecked, Ghanaur loses over Rs 100-cr sand

Cops file cases to keep record ‘up to date’, but no mafia kingpin nailed so far

Illegal mining unchecked, Ghanaur loses over Rs 100-cr sand

Rampant mining has left huge pits at Chamaru village near Ghanaur. Tribune photo

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Ghanaur, January 17

More than half a dozen villages adjoining Ghanaur are witnessing unbridled sand mining. Villages of Rajgarh, Nanhera, Chamaru and Bathonian, besides a few others, are the “hotbed of illegal mining”. More than two dozen FIRs have been registered in the past three years but so far there are no reports confirming the trade.

Transported to Mohali, Kharar sites

  • Sand illegally excavated from these villages is shifted to far-off ready-for-construction sites in Mohali, Kharar, Patiala and Sangrur
  • Sources say despite illegal mining, the rate of a tipper of sand is around Rs4,200-Rs4,500, priced around Rs3,500 two years ago

Sources said just to keep their record “up to date”, the police register a case on the basis of a complaint by mining officials and “the matter ends there”. Despite political hullabaloo, “no probe has been completed to nail the mafia kingpins”.

Illegal sand mining is rampant on a large scale in Ghanaur town, posing a serious threat to the existence of several villages in the area. So far, over half a dozen villages have lost sand worth over Rs 100 crore in the past few years.

At Chamaru village, around 40 km from the district headquarters, mining activity is going on clandestinely round the clock. “Loaded trucks and tippers can be spotted in the village throughout the day and night. Police and mining officials know who is behind all this but nobody dares to report,” claimed a villager.

Rampant mining has left huge pits at Chamaru village near Ghanaur. Tribune photo

At a number of spots The Tribune team visited in Ghanaur, many sand dredging machines and earthmovers were extracting sand not only from a vast tract of land but also from private land and from around the land adjoining Ghaggar, endangering its embankments.

Interestingly, after a conversation with the local Shambhu police about illegal mining, The Tribune team received a call from a local politician, who requested this correspondent not to report the issue.

Rajgarh, Nanhera, Chamaru, Bathonian Kalan in Ghanaur have become illegal hubs of mining. “Sand excavated from these villages is shifted to ready-for-construction sites to as far as Mohali, Kharar, Patiala and Sangrur. To date, despite over 20 FIRs in the Ghanaur belt, no investigation has ever been completed,” rued a villager.

Ghanaur DSP Jaswinder Tiwana said he would check the probe report in all FIRs. “Whenever the mining department sends us any complaint, we immediately register an FIR,” he said. Sources say despite illegal mining, the rate of a tipper of sand is around Rs 4,200-4,500, priced around Rs 3,500 two years ago. “Only one group is allowed to sell sand in this area,” said a local policeman. “In the past four years, lakhs of cubic metres of sand was illegally shifted from various villages, and still no FIR or challan identifies those who pocketed the money,” he said.

Ramandeep Singh Bains, XEN, Drainage (cum- mining officer), Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib, said they acted on complaints filed by public and asked police stations concerned to register FIRs. “In Ghanaur, in the past one month we have already registered four FIRs, including one in Chamaru,” he said.

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