Sukhbir Badal alleges illegal mining near Bear river; files police complaint

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Amritsar, Jun 30 (PTI) SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday alleged that illegal mining was being carried out near the Beas river, adding that it threatened the very lifeline of Majha region in Punjab besides eroding river banks and destroying farmers’ fields.

He also filed a complaint against a state minister and a few Congress legislators at the Beas Police Station in this regard, a party statement said.

Badal said that according to the National Green Tribunal, no mining activity should be done within five kilometers of a bridge, but in this case, sand was being mined within a distance of one kilometer.

Similarly, he said, the claim of desilting being done at the site was wrong as the same could not be done in running water.

“Truck drivers who were being illegally charged Rs 16,000 per truck had filed a complaint against the sand mafia. Villagers also filed a separate complaint, saying panchayat land was being mined by the mafia without their permission,” the party statement stated.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader also made a surprise visit to the Beas river bank during which he found a few hundred trucks, fork cranes and even a pipeline on floaters, on the spot, it said.

Talking to reporters, he alleged that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was allowing the sand mafia to indulge in daylight robbery of state resources.

“The CM was allowing this loot to please the AICC on one hand so that he could retain his chair as well as the legislators who were baying for his blood,” he said.

Badal urged the CM to tell people why no action was being taken against the mining mafia.

“Farmers told me that the police come to the spot every day but only to collect bribes. Even today, after I visited the spot and witnessed the illegal mining, I rang up the civil and police authorities to take action, but they sent their officers only after one-and-a-half hours. Even these officers tried to justify the illegal activity by saying desilting work was going on at the site,” he said.

The former chief minister added it was surprising that instead of giving contracts of legal mining and earning revenue for the state, the “entire operation had been turned over to the sand mining kings from Rajasthan and Jammu”.

“These kingpins have associated themselves with Congress leaders and they are jointly looting the resources of the state,” he alleged.

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