Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said the state government will soon come out with a new mining policy aimed at checking illegal mining even as he called for strict action against those involved in it.

"The state government is fully committed to check illegal mining in the state and a new mining policy will be announced in coming days," an official release quoted Badal to say.

Sand mining is carried out mainly in state's sub-mountain areas including, Ropar, Hoshiarpur and some areas in Gurdaspur.

In the recently concluded Assembly session here, Opposition Congress party had alleged that a handful of ruling party members were illegally controlling sand mining and those prices of sand and gravel had gone up astronomically.

Badal asked all the deputy commissioners (DCs) of the state to take strictest possible action against illegal miners in their respective districts, regardless of their political affiliations, in order to check this menace effectively.

He said any sort of leniency in checking this unlawful trade would not be tolerated at any cost.

Presiding over a meeting of the top brass of the state government and all DCs, Punjab CM said SAD-BJP government has set up a target of planting 40 crore new saplings across the state in next eight years in order to make state clean, green and pollution-free.

The Chief Minister said the state government would be formally launching the 'Greening Punjab Campaign' on Sunday from Fazilka for enhancing the forest cover in the state.

He set a target of planting five crore saplings every year for which the DCs have been asked to play a proactive role.

Badal asked the district heads to identify vacant government land for plantation.

He said there was no dearth of funds for the purpose and that the Punjab government had already created a dedicated Greening Punjab Fund in this regard.

Badal also directed DCs to personally supervise the ongoing flood protection work in their districts during the monsoon season.

He said the required funds for flood protection have been already released by the state government and the DCs must ensure that all the flood control works were completed by July 7.

Badal also approved release Rs 5 lakh for each district to enable the DCs to pay compensation promptly for any loss of property or cattle of the people during the monsoon season.

Noting that procurement of paddy would commence from September, Badal asked the officers to take steps for their proper storage.


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