The J&K Police seized more than 12 heavy excavators and 41 vehicles from an organised Punjab-based mafia involved in illegal sand mining at River Ravi.
A team of the Geology and Mining Department of the state, led by District Mineral Officer (DMO) Rajinder Singh, conducted a raid along the bank of River Ravi on specific information early on Tuesday morning.
During the raid, an excavator machine bearing number SYQ15512086, operated by Shiv Chander Prasad Singh and a dumper bearing registration N0 PB35Q2359, driven by Gulshan Singh, were seized from the spot. While two more drivers succeeded in fleeing the spot with their dumpers.
Both the machines and the dumper were handed over to In charge of the Police Post Bedian Patan, and shall remain in the police custody till the realisation of penalty by the Geology and Mining department.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Rahul Pandey, has instructed the department to redouble its efforts to curb illegal mining activities and sought strict action against the violators.
As per the officials, a heavy penalty of around Rs 12 lakh has been imposed on the owners of the confiscated machinery. The DMO informed that both machines are registered with Punjab state. He said that the department does not spare any person carrying out illegal mining activities anywhere in the district.
The department, in the past, seized and penalised 11 heavy excavators and 41 vehicles involved in illegal mining in the Ravi River and adjoining locations.
Successive governments in Punjab have made vain attempts to curb illegal mining and in the process Punjab’s politically influential building material mafia has infiltrated into the river touching J&K.
Arguably, Kashmir’s political leadership has often accused the J&K authorities of letting the Punjab mafia to smuggle sand, gravel and other building material from here.