After the district administration failed to take any concrete action against the illegal miners in Khijrabaad area in Kharar Sub-Division, the illegal miners are making a mockery of the administration in Derabassi Sub-Division by carrying out the illegal activity under the shadow of ‘legal mining’ at government approved sites. The local residents in these areas allege that the truckloads of sand and gravel are being ferried from Ghaggar river every day and the mining contractors have also dug up the fields.
Satnam Singh, a resident of Pandwala village in Derabassi, told Chandigarh Newsline that a few days ago, there was a quarrel between some villagers and some outsiders who were digging the fields on the outskirts of their village after the men failed to satisfy the villagers’ query why they were digging their land.
Although Pandwala village had an approved mining site, the villagers said that the miners carry out their illegal activities under the shadow of the administration’s approval. “It is not the first incident. The problem is that these people (illegal miners) have come in our villages and started digging up the fields. They are dangerous too. Whenever anyone asks them about their activities, they always intimidate us. Whenever we try to lodge a complaint, the official says that it was an approved site,” Satnam said. Gurjinder Singh, another local resident, said that the illegal mining was rampant at Pandwala, Jaffarpur, Sundra, Mubarikpur villages in Derabassi and Bohra, Bohri, Bakarpur, Chatt and Shtatabgarh villages near Zirakpur.
Gurjinder said, “Ghaggar river is the main target of the illegal miners. The miners have dug up the river bed. Every night one can see truckloads of sand trucks being ferried off the river bed. Due to the digging, there are deep craters on the river bed.” There are six approved mining sites in Pandwala, Basma, Khanpur Khaddar, Alamgir, Kakrali and Hansala villages but the residents of these villages said that the approval is just an eyewash. “We had heard that mining was banned long ago. Then what are these trucks carrying? Not only the river (Ghaggar), our fields are ruined too,” Tejvir Singh, a young farmer of Kakrali village, told Chandigarh Newsline.
The story was the same at Chatt village which is famous for Chhatbir Zoo. Gurinder Singh, a local resident, said that there was no approved mining sites near their village but the tippers loaded with sand ply throughout the night in their area. “Our concern is that under the shadow of legal mining, these people have entered our fields. They have ruined Ghaggar river and dug up our fields too which has made it tough for us to work,” Gurinder told Chandigarh Newsline.
The District Mining Officer, C L Garg, when contacted, said that whenever they receive any complaint against illegal mining, their officials visit the spot and take necessary action. He added that they cannot stop the mining at approved sites. “We cannot say that it is illegal mining. We take action. Now the auction of new sites is scheduled for November 27. It will help curb illegal mining,” he said.