Himachal Pradesh today imposed a three-month ban on sand mining in the state especially the border districts of Solan,Una,Kangra and Sirmaur and gave sweeping powers to the district police and deputy commissioners to crack down on the mafia.
The short-term ban covers mining of construction material like sand and grit as well as its transportation to other states from Himachal.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh,who had publicly admitted that the mining mafia enjoyed political patronage,today told the superintendents of police and DCs,whom he summoned to Shimla today,to draw up a strategy,form joint teams and initiate action against the mining mafia.
Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy told The Indian Express that the state was facing major problems on its borders because Punjab had already imposed ban on mining,so a lot of illegal sand mining was taking place on the Himachal side. This is causing a huge loss to the state exchequer,apart from serious environmental damage in Himachal,a state that is a pioneer in environment protection initiatives. I will strictly implement measures as proposed by the Chief Minister in the Assembly.
During the meeting,Virbhadra announced a ban on mining in river beds and khuds for three months. We will not allow a kilo of sand to be smuggled out to Punjab or Haryana by the mafia. Take strong legal measures to nab the mafia and impose heavy penalties, he told the SPs and DCs.