Chandigarh: Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa on Saturday wrote a letter to Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and demanded CBI/ED probe into Punjab Cabinet Minister’s allegations of illegal sand mining in Punjab.

In his letter, he wrote, “I would like to bring to your kind notice a very important issue concerning the non-availability of sand and stoppage of construction activities in the State due to the failure of the present day Government to effectively rein in illegal sand mining thanks to the continuing political patronage, which, ultimately, is affecting the livelihood of poor unorganised labour engaged in the construction work.”

He said that on the directions of the High Court in an illegal mining case, the then Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Ropar, Harsimranjit Singh, submitted a report in which he mentioned that he interacted with local residents, passers-by and truck drivers without disclosing his identity. They unanimously confirmed that no truck carrying sand and gravel was allowed to cross the points without paying royalty.

Based on the above report establishing the existence and operation of illegal and unauthorised checkpoints near some mining sites in Ropar, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on 14th August, 2020, ordered a preliminary inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Now, Anmol Gagan Mann, a Cabinet Minister in the present Government conducted a surprise check of the mining plot at Abhipur village in Kharar in the last of November, 2022 and disclosed in visual as well as the print media about having found signs of fresh mining at various places at the site of which the minister took strict notice. Thus, it leaves nothing to doubt that the present Government has failed miserably to check the plunder of this valuable natural resource because of the complicity of politicians in it.

“Therefore, I venture to seek your attention on the subject and request for ordering an immediate probe either by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) so that undeterred continuation of illegal mining at a massive scale could be stalled at once and the livelihood of poor daily wage earners engaged in the construction sector could be protected,”Bajwa wrote to Governor.

He also urged the governor to conduct an inquiry, and Anmol Gagan Mann must be made a prime witness who has been bold enough to make serious allegations of illegal sand mining in the public domain.

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