Chandigarh, March 15: Acting swiftly on the directions of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab Police on Saturday cracked down in a big way on sand mining being carried out at night in six districts of the state.

Nine persons were arrested in the special operations, which led to the seizure of 18 vehicles being used illegally in the night mining, according to DGP Dinkar Gupta. The seizures, made during the raids in Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar City, Jalandhar Rural, Moga and Fazilka, included JCBs, tractor trolley and tippers, he added.

So far, nine cases have been registered by the police, and further investigations are in progress, said the DGP.

The DGP said similar raids will be carried out daily on the directives of the Chief Minister, who had received certain reports and complaints of illegal mining being carried out at night. The special operations, to be conducted in all the concerned districts, will involve officers of the mining department. Police will accompany the civil officers deputed by the Deputy Commissioners, he added.

Giving details of last night’s operations, Gupta said in Ropar, though the night mining was hampered by rains, the raiding team nabbed three people with two sets of machinery. In Moga, two persons were arrested with two tractors and trolleys, under FIR no. 58 registered in PS City Moga. All-out efforts were on to arrest the owners as well, he said.

According to the DGP, even though mining was not supposed to be carried out in the area, the duty officer at PS Sadar Fazilka discovered illegal operations being carried out early yesterday, and an FIR (no. 71, dated March 14, 2020) was registered under the Mining and Minerals Act, 1957. Eight tractors/trolleys were seized in the raid.

A special checking drive last night in Hoshiarpur led to the arrest of one person and recovery of tractor trolleys along with implants. FIR no. 24 dated 14/03/2020 has been registered u/s 21(1) Mining Mineral Act PS Haryana, said the DGP.

In Jalandhar Commissionerate, one case was registered against a farmer for illegally mining his own fields in PS Sadar, and a JCB was taken into possession. In the sixth raid, in Jalandhar Rural, four cases were registered and four persons arrested for indulging in night mining activity, said Gupta, adding that 3 tippers and 1 tractor trolley had been confiscated.

Meanwhile, reiterating his commitment to eliminate illegal mining completely from the state, Captain Amarinder said all-out efforts were being made by the government to check such mining activity. Top officials of the districts where such mining was allegedly taking place, especially in the cover of darkness, had strict instructions to take immediate cognizance and action on any complaints, he said, warning that no laxity in this regard would be tolerated.

The DGP said the Chief Minister had also directed the police to extend all support to the mining department and concerned district officials in the special raids against night mining. Every complaint was being taken seriously and nobody found guilty of involvement would be spared, he added.

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