Illegal sand mining: ED raids Charanjit Singh Channi's nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey's house
Since morning, the ED has raided over 10 places in the state, which will be going to the polls on 20 February
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday raided multiple locations, including the residence of Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi's nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey in Mohali, in poll-bound Punjab as part of a money laundering probe against companies involved in illegal sand mining in the border state, officials said.
ED raids are underway since morning and have covered at least 10 other places across Punjab, according to a report by MoneyControl.
On Monday, the Election Commission of India rescheduled the single-phase polls in all 117 constituencies of Punjab to 20 February from 14 February, following demands from political parties in the state seeking a change on account of Guru Ravi Das Jayanti, which will be observed on 16 February.
According to a report by Indian Express, the Punjab government had recently come up with a new sand and gravel mining policy 2021, which states that landowners can dispose of ordinary earth extracted or removed during the leveling of their agricultural fields up to three-feet. Even the government advertisement states that landowners are permitted to extract up to three-feet sand.
Several farmers were already into illegal sand mining in their fields and this new policy now allows all farmers to extract up to three -feet earth from their fields without any environment clearance certificate.
Illegal sand mining has been a long-standing issue in Punjab, with each consecutive government promising to tackle it and subsequently failing to do so. The steps taken by the governments so far have merely proven to be stopgap measures including the recent sand policy, which has drawn widespread flak from environmentalists.
The rampant illegal sand mining stems from a high demand for sand in the state. Punjab’s estimated demand for sand is said to be two crore tonnes annually. Official estimate the business in state to be worth Rs 3,000 crore annually. A tractor trolley is sold for anything between Rs 2,000 to Rs 3500, according to a report by Indian Express.
With input from agencies
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