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AAP minister involved in illegal mining in Punjab: Akali Dal

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Chandigarh, Dec 11 (IANS) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Majithia on Monday demanded a high court monitored inquiry or a CBI probe into the multi-hundred crore illegal mining allegedly being done in Ropar by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister Harjot Bains in the name of desilting. In a statement here, the SAD leader said despite the fact that desilting had been banned in the 2023 mining policy of the AAP government; massive desilting works were being carried out with heavy machinery to mine sand in Chandpura village in Anandpur Sahib tehsil currently. “Even protests from villagers have not had any effect on either the mining department or the district police because the miners enjoy government patronage.” Asserting that large-scale illegal mining was being carried out in other parts of Ropar district by the minister and his associates, Majithia said simultaneously illegal mining was being converted into legal mining by imposing a fee of Rs 6 per cubic feet. He said by doing this the AAP government was legalising sand which was being illegally quarried in areas where legal quarries had not been sanctioned. “Such acts have made Punjab the virtual virgin island for illegal smugglers with no questions being asked whether material is coming from the state or outside,” he added. Asserting that this was sheer loot of the state exchequer, Majithia said “the entire AAP party from top to bottom is responsible for this as money procured from illegal mining is being used to fill the coffers of party leaders as well as bankroll the election campaign of the party in other states”. He said only an independent probe could establish the money trail from Punjab to Delhi and bring the guilty to book. –IANS vg/pgh

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