9 arrested in anti-sand mining drive in 6 Punjab districts: Police chief

Chandigarh, Mar 15 (PTI) In a police crackdown against illegal sand-mining in the state, nine persons have been arrested from six districts of Punjab in a night-long operation, state police chief Dinkar Gupta said on Sunday.

The six were arrested in a special operation launched by police on Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's orders, said the police chief, adding the arrests were made from six districts in an operation on the night intervening Saturday and Sunday.

'Nine persons were arrested in special operations, which also led to seizures of 18 vehicles being used illegally during night for sand mining,' said Gupta.

He said arrests and seizures were made during the raids in Rupnagar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar City, Jalandhar Rural, Moga and Fazilka districts. The seized vehicles and equipment included heavy earth moving machines, tractor trolley and tippers.

So far, nine cases have been registered by the police and further investigations are in progress, said the DGP, adding similar raids will be carried out daily.

The special operation against the illegal sand mining has been launched on the orders the chief minister, who had received some reports and complaints of illegal sand mining during night.  The special operations, to be conducted in all districts concerned, will involve officers of the mining department. Police will accompany the civil administration officials deputed by deputy commissioners, he added.

Giving details of Saturday night's operations, Gupta said among those arrested included three from Rupnagar, where the raiding team nabbed them with two sets of machinery. In Moga, two persons were apprehended and two tractors and trolleys were seized.

A special checking drive last night in Hoshiarpur led to the arrest of one person and confiscation of tractor trolleys.

In Jalandhar commissionerate, one case was registered against a farmer for illegally mining his own fields, he said.

In another raid in Jalandhar Rural, four persons were arrested for indulging in night mining activities, said Gupta.

Reiterating his commitment to eliminate illegal mining completely from the state, Amarinder Singh in a statement here on Sunday said all-out efforts were being made by the government to check such mining activity.  Top officials of the districts where such mining was taking place, especially in the cover of darkness, had strict instructions to take immediate cognisance and action on any complaint, he said, warning that no laxity in this regard would be tolerated.

The DGP said the chief minister has also directed police to extend all support to the mining department and concerned district officials in launching special raids against night mining. Every complaint was being taken seriously and nobody found guilty of involvement would be spared, he added. PTI SUN RAX RAX