The removal of an illegal bridge on Ghaggar river in Kakrali village here by drainage department on Monday couldn’t deter the unauthorised miners from ferrying sand from the river bed, the villagers claimed. They said the illegal miners have now started using the village’s ring road and carry sand in tractor-trailers that are smaller in size than tipper trucks.
Kakrali’s Sarpanch Jaswinder Singh, however, denied that illegal mining is taking place in their village. During a visit to the village on Thursday – three days after the removal of the bridge – some villagers told Chandigarh Newsline that the illegal miners start ferrying the sand from Ghaggar river in tractor-trailers after 10 pm, which continue till early morning.
“The mining did not stop. Now, the miners have started using the village ring road, which connects with the main road. Earlier, the illegal miners used the kutcha road on the river bed,” said a villager who wished not to be named.
When asked how the illegal miners are crossing the river after the removal of the bridge, a villager explained that tractor-trailers are lighter in weight than the tipper trucks. “They can easily cross the river, which now has only around 3 to 4-feet water. In case a tractor is stuck in the water, it can be towed with another, while it is difficult in case of heavy vehicles like tipper trucks,” he said.
Another Kakrali resident, whose house in located near the ring road, confirmed that for the last three-four days, he could hear the sounds of tractor-trailers passing throughout the night. He even claimed having made a video of the tractors crossing the road. “I feel illegal sand mining is difficult to stop. The administration removed the bridge, but the illegal miners devised a new way of ferrying the sand. It can only be stopped with round-the-clock monitoring, which the district administration is not doing,” he said.
Denying any illegal mining in their village, Kakrali Sarpanch Singh said the villagers are already angry after the administration removed the bridge as it was beneficial for the farmers. “These are baseless allegations, no illegal mining is taking place here,” he said.
Sub-divisional Officer (Mining) Bhag Singh said whenever they receive any complaint they visit the site and inspect it and in case any illegal mining takes place, they recommend registration of FIRs. “We registered an FIR against a Kakrali resident recently,” he said.