Friday, November 10, 2017
Illegal mining on panchayat land threatens ecology at Moga village
Kulwinder Sandhu, Tribune News Service|November 6, 2017|Moga
Illegal mining and encroachment have been reported on the panchayat land at Janer village in Moga district.
The Rural Development and Panchayat Department has conducted a preliminary inquiry and found that top soil (earth) from 25-acre panchayat land has been sold by the village sarpanch in connivance with senior leaders of the Akali Dal during the previous SAD-BJP government between 2014 and 2016.
Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) Jagir Singh has sent a detailed report in this regard to the district collector, who has further referred it to the district mining officer for financial assessment of the total losses.
According to an estimate, the top soil of the fertile land worth Rs 2 crore has been allegedly sold to the nearby brick kilns for making bricks.
“I have seen tractor-trailers and trucks loaded with soil coming out of the panchayat land and going to the brick kilns,” said Balwinder Singh. a local resident.
When this correspondent visited the panchayat land on the Janer-Dhalleke link road, it was found that the whole stretch of the panchayat land has been deeply excavated posing danger to the local ecology. The ground level of the panchayat land is 8 to 10 ft deeper than the nearby fields.
Local residents said illegal mining operations were done during the intervening period of harvesting and sowing of the crops. The residents revealed that senior leadership of the Akali Dal was also hand in glove with the sarpanch in the illegal mining operations.
When contacted, sarpanch Malwinder Singh Kali denied the allegations and said he had just leveled the panchayat land. No illegal mining was done by him. “Officials of the Rural Development and Panchayat Department are harassing him under political influence after the change of guard in the state,” he said.
“I have also filed court cases against officials of the the Rural Development and Panchayat Department in the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well as in a local court for harassing me,” he added.
On the other hand, one could also see widespread encroachment on the great mound of Janer, which is roughly 7,000 sq ft in area and about 30 ft in height. It is spread in a total area of about 100 acres.
The mound is covered with encroachments in the form of houses, gurdwara and grain market. It has a pond and a waste stretch also.