Chandigarh, Feb 5: In a bid to counter illegal mining and tax evasion by miners, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered joint departmental teams headed by respective Deputy Commissioners to be set up in all districts of the state.
Singh also warned that no political interference would be tolerated in the matter and directed officials to initiate the crackdown without any delay.
The decision follows reports about rampant illegal mining, which was causing loss of hundreds of crores of rupees to the state exchequer.
Taking a serious note, Amarinder Singh stated offenders would not be spared at any cost.
“Illegal mining and tax evasion had led to heavy losses to the exchequer and needed to be checked on priority,” the Chief Minister said in a meeting of the sub-committee on finance here, adding that Punjab could not afford any more financial losses.
The meeting took place after a review of the Mining Department’s functioning.
Singh instructed for an increased vigil on stone crushers, located in Rupnagar, SAS Nagar (Mohali) and Pathankot districts.
The joint teams would comprise officials from the taxation, mining, revenue, and police departments, an official spokesperson asserted, adding that these would be mandated to set up roadblocks to check illegal mining and evasion of taxes.
According to the department officials, around 34 mines auctioned so far (spread over 329 hectares) in the state had not yet become operational.
Once production begins there, state revenue would be further augmented, they said, adding that earnings could go up to Rs 600-800 crore.