February 18, 2020 1:08:40 pm
Putting a question mark on the role of the Haryana Police, state Mining Minister Mool Chand Sharma Monday said it was not possible for a crime to take place without the consent of the local police. Sharma, who has sought the intervention of Home Minister Anil Vij to curb the illegal mining in the state, also said that officials of the mining and geology department are afraid of taking on the mining mafia.
“Crime cannot take place without the consent of the police. (In Haryana) the officials, except those from the police department, are afraid of the mining mafia,” Sharma said.
“Thanedars know that illegal mining is taking place. It is not possible to mine even a single stone if the police stations situated near the river and the mountains keep a tight vigil,” he added.
Sharma told The Indian Express that he has written a letter to the Home Minister, seeking his support in tackling the mining mafia.
The minister had recently challaned 55 overloaded vehicles carrying stones and sand. “I targeted only those vehicles, which were involved in mining.
There are several other locations where I will take action against such vehicles,” Sharma said, adding that the mining mafia operates their business through WhatsApp groups.
“They start moving after getting clearance on the WhatsApp groups,” said Sharma, who is a two-time legislator from Ballabhgarh Assembly constituency. He also holds transport portfolio in the BJP-JJP alliance government.
Last year in August, the Haryana government had given the additional charge of Director General of mines and geology to 1997-batch IPS officer Amitabh Dhillon apart from his assignment of Inspector General of Police (IGP), Special Task Force (STF). The DG (mines and geology) is an IAS cadre post and Dhillon’s appointment was seen as a move by the BJP government to put a curb on illegal mining. The move had come amid allegations by the opposition that the Haryana government was soft on the mining mafia.
“I am not saying that he (Dhillon) is not curbing the illegal mining. He is doing his job. But he can’t sit in the police thanas. Only thanedars sit in the thanas,” Sharma said.
Earlier, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) MLA Devender Babli had raised serious questions on the functioning of police stating that he was “ashamed” to be part of a government under which police officers are nothing but “vardi vaale gunde (hooligans in uniform)”.
Terming the emergence of mining mafia in Haryana as a serious issue, Sharma said, “Illegal mining is not like a break in (where thieves break a lock and decamp with valuables within minutes). It requires at least an hour of mining (to get a truck load of) sand. After that the vehicles (laden with illegally mined sand and stones) move on the roads”.
The minister said that even the contractors who have taken mining sites on lease were involved in illegal mining. “They take one kilometer area (on lease) but carry out mining in an area of 10 kilometers,” Sharma alleged.
The mining of sand mainly takes place in Yamuna river while the mountains of Aravallis have sites for stones mining. Thus, mining takes place in districts like Panchkula, Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Faridabad, Gurugram, Mewat, Mahendergarh, Bhiwani and Charkhi Dadri. Sharma said that the government had cancelled mining lease of 18 contractors who had not deposited the lease money to the government.
The minister is also upset with the shortage of staff in the mining and geology department. “We have district mining officers in 13 only of total 22 districts. Many of these officers have to go the High Court and Supreme Court also,” said the minister.
The minister said that he has got assurance from the government against the mining mafia. When contacted, Vij said that he has yet not received any letter from Sharma.
Gave best police officials to mining dept, 700 vehicles impounded: DGP
Chandigarh: Haryana DGP Manoj Yadava Monday said that his department has been working on curbing illegal mining and has impounded over 700 loaded vehicles in past about two months. “This has led to problem of parking at our police stations,” he said.
The DGP said that the police department has provided an IPS officer (Amitabh Dhillon), “who is a man of proven integrity”, and “50 best police officials” to the mining department. “I have received information that now no illegal mining is taking place. We have not released any of the impounded vehicles. A new rule has been introduced that an impounded vehicle will be released only if the owner deposits half of its showroom value (as penalty). Now the transporters are not willing to give their vehicles for illegal mining,” said Yadava.
To check overloading and illegal mining, officials say, the mining department has also started e-billing system for the vehicles engaged in the activity.
Express News Service
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