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Round-the-clock mining on near Pak border: BSF to HC

Round-the-clock mining on near Pak border: BSF to HC

The BSF report does not term it illegal mining but adds that “Presence of hundreds of labourers, whose antecedents have not been verified by the local Police, so close to IB is perceived to be a big security hazard”

Chandigarh: The Border Security Force (BSF) manning international border (IB) with Pakistan has told Punjab and Haryana high court that mining activity in the border areas with Pakistan is being undertaken 24 hours a day.

The BSF report does not term it illegal mining but adds that “Presence of hundreds of labourers, whose antecedents have not been verified by the local Police, so close to IB is perceived to be a big security hazard.” “The mining/excavation starts before sunrise and goes on till late night, sometimes even whole night”, the report added. Further underlining that in recent days, there has been many drone incursions from Pakistan, where the possibility of dropping contrabands, arms/ammunition at their camp site/vehicles cannot be ruled out, which is causing huge threat to the security of the International Border fence.

The BSF report has come to an order passed by high court on July 25 in which various agencies of Centre and Punjab were told to apprise whether illegal mining in the border districts of Punjab, poses security threat. The Punjab government had responded to the order of July 25 but court said, “in the state government affidavit, there is no specific mention or detail in respect of districts Pathankot or Gurdaspur, nor has a statement been made as to whether illegal mining activity in those areas has been stopped or not”.

Now high court has sought fresh reports from Punjab government and various agencies and ministries of Centre on the issue by August 29. On July 25, besides, Punjab government responses were sought from the Army; Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as National Institute of Hydrology and Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India.

The high court had passed order on July 25 after petitioner’s side in 2012 case seeking crackdown against illegal mining in Punjab had told court that, illegal mining well beyond the prescribed limits is continuing unabated in river-beds, especially in the areas of Pathankot and Gurdaspur, adjacent to the border of Pakistan. It has resulted in creation of gorges and ditches which seriously jeopardize the security of the country and in fact has practically become an entry point for infiltrators and terrorists, they had submitted.

According to Punjab government affidavit in court filed after July 25 order, it has launched a crackdown against illegal mining in the state. As many as 603 FIRs have been registered against 958 persons in the past seven months and 690 persons have been arrested, the government has told the court adding that 777 vehicles have been impounded during this period.

It also said that in April 2022, district level task forces were constituted to curb illegal mining. There are 124 mining sites out of which only 40 are on contract for mining riverbed. The activity remains banned during monsoon from July 1 to September 30, the state government had told the court.

©Hindustan Times

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