In a bid to check illegal mining in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered a total ban on mining from 7.30 p.m. to 5 a.m,
The CM, who chaired a high-level meeting on Friday to review the illegal mining situation in the state, asked the mining department to strictly ensure that no mining is undertaken by any authorized contractor in river beds or other areas after 7.30 p.m. and before 5 a.m.
Warning of stringent action against violators, the CM said anyone, including officers and police personnel, found conniving in illegal sand mining operations should also be dealt with strictly.
While directing the police and the newly constituted enforcement directorate (ED) mining to crack down strictly on any night mining activity, the CM, however, ordered that there should be no hindrance to the smooth movement of sand and gravel during the night in view of the high level of construction activity going on in the state.
Availability of the material at an affordable price should also be ensured, he told the department, directing Principal Secretary Mining to coordinate with authorised contractors to bring down the prices of sand and gravel.
The director ED mining RN Dhoke said 70 FIRs have been registered against 93 persons involved in illegal sand mining activities and 70 vehicles have been confiscated since the formation of the directorate.
Drones are being used to carry out the photography of illegal sand mining sites to assess the extent of excavation done and unauthorized movement of minor minerals at the inter-state borders of Punjab has been curbed substantially.
Notably, the ED was set up in the mining and geology wing of the water resources department to strictly enforce the laws against illegal mining and thus help in ramping up the state’s revenues.