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Forest officials to get tough with illegal sand mafia

Officials of the Chamba forest circle will get tough with sand and bajri collectors who are extracting these materials from the Ravi and its tributaries of Siul and other local streams in Chamba, Sahoo, Pukhri, Sundla, Tissa, Bharmaur and Lamu forest blocks. A ban in this regard was imposed by the National Green Tribunal.

Revealing this here today, a senior forest official told reporters that the Forest Department had taken cognizance of 24 incidents of mining of sand and stone from the riverbeds and also dumping muck generated from the construction activities by hydropower projects.

Those involved in these activities were booked under relevant sections of the Indian Forest Act and a compensation of Rs 1,53,433 was realised from them in December, he further said.

Despite this, the illegal muck dumping was continuing in the surroundings of Chamba town and forest officials were still keeping track of offenders who would be brought to book soon, the official claimed.

He said during the past nine months 89 cases had been apprehended and a total compensation of Rs 4.64 lakh had been realised. 

The Tribune (15-01-2014)