Qadian, September 6: Senior Congress leader and Punjab’s Leader of the opposition (LoP) Partap Singh Bajwa on Tuesday come down heavily on the Bhagwant Mann government for its utter failure in checking the rampant sand mining in the state.
Bajwa said Punjab’s cabinet minister who held the charge of the mining department, Harjot Singh Bains never let an opportunity go, claiming how under his supervision the illegal sand mining in Punjab had nearly vanished.
In the Punjab Vidhan Sabha session, Harjot Bains had claimed the Vigilance Bureau would probe all illegal mining cases however nothing seemed to be happening in this regard on the ground.
“The sand mining is going unchecked in the Rupnagar area which happens to be in the near vicinity of Anandpur sahib the home constituency of Bains. There are reports sand is being smuggled from Himachal Pradesh the reason behind its prices going so high in Punjab ”, said Bajwa.
The recent media reports as well as the observations made by the Punjab & Haryana High
Court presented a completely contradictory picture of the illegal mining operations going on unabated in the entire state directly under the nose of Bains.
Bains must go through the news report published in the leading newspaper of the region which after detailed investigations concluded that despite the ban on river sand mining during the rainy season from July 1 to September 30, the illegal activity continued unabated in different parts of Punjab.
Bajwa said that the report also revealed how the police officials have already thrown their hands up in the air in checking the unbridled sand mining.
The Punjab & Haryana High Court had recently banned mining across the Ravi river bed in Pathankot and Gurdaspur districts. The bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha and Justice Arun Palli expressed dissatisfaction over the reply filed by the Punjab government as there was no mention of a specific plan or a strategy laid out to stop the ongoing illegal mining.
In fact, Border Security Force (BSF) and the Indian Army protecting Punjab's international border had submitted an affidavit in the high court claiming the unchecked mining going on in the border districts posed a serious threat to national security.
Similarly, Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi of the high court asserted that illegal mining was rampant in both Punjab and Haryana.
Bajwa said Bains must check his facts before making media statements claiming the Punjab government was able to control 90 percent of illegal mining.
Not only in the border areas the situation of illegal mining was no different in Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Ferozepur, Kapurthala and Jalandhar districts. And the media reports also suggested it was even worse in Fazilka.
Bajwa said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal must explain why he was making tall claims before the Punjab elections that if voted to power his government would generate nearly Rs. 20,000 crore revenue from sand mining.
“In fact, the sand rates have gone beyond the reach of the common man as the prices have skyrocketed while the mafia is ruling the roost”, added Bajwa.