Sunday, September 2, 2012
Dinesh K Sharma, TNN | Sep 2, 2012, 02.26AM IST, Times of India
FEROZEPUR: Despite a ban on removing sand from riverbeds and small sand dunes, illegal mining of sand on the banks of Satluj in Ferozepur district and small sand dunes falling under Fazilka district has been going on a large scale.
This is in contravention of the directions of Punjab and Haryana high court, which had imposed a ban on mining of sand in the state from August 17, without getting environment clearance certificate from the concerned department.
Hundreds of tractor trolleys illegally excavate sand from the Satluj riverbed in the area daily. Though no company or individual has got permit for removing sand from riverbed, the practice continues unabated in the absence of strict monitoring, sources said.
In Fazilka, illegal mining of sand continues unabated in Ganjuana Hastya, Miani Bast, Salemshah and Kawwanwali villages and hundreds of trucks and tractor trolleys, carrying sand, can be seen plying daily, they said.
According to sources, a well-organized sand mafia has been indulging in this lucrative business. As the mafia enjoys political patronage, officials concerned refrain from taking action against them, they said.
The mafia members have even hired goons, offering them handsome amounts, to prevent anyone from trying to expose this illegal business, they added.
Residents of nearby villages said that mining of sand is common in the area. According to them, a few villagers had even lodged a complaint with the local administration in this regard, but no action has been taken so far.
When contacted, Gurcharan Singh, general manager of district industries department at Ferozepur, said that the department had registered over 15 cases for illegal sand mining, but the activity continues unchecked in the district. Interestingly, the environment department has not given clearance to anybody for removing sand from the total 57 sand dunes falling under the district, sources said.
Recently, the forest department had unearthed an illegal sand mining racket, which was going on in a clandestine manner in a protected forest (PF) area, close to the Indo-Pakistan border near Bareke village under Ferozepur. A case was also registered against three persons in this regard.
Ferozepur deputy commissioner S Karuna Raju said he had directed the SDM concerned and the district administration to stop illegal sand mining in the area and ensure that violators are not spared.
at 10:21 AM