Now, Himachal police officer obstructed by mining mafia

Shimla, Aug 28 (IANS) Less than a month after an attack on IAS officer Yunus Khan who took on a mafia mining sand from riverbeds in Himachal Pradesh, a police officer was allegedly obstructed from performing his duty to check illegal mining, police said Wednesday.

The official vehicle of Superintendent of Police S. Arul, who was checking illegal mining in Baddi area in Solan district, adjoining Punjab, was obstructed by two tractor-trailers loaded with sand Tuesday night.

Confirming this development, Arul told IANS that when he was on way to check mining activities in the area, the tractor-trailers, which were coming towards him on his side of the road, didn't give way to his vehicle.

Official sources said acting on a tip-off, the police official reached the spot to check mining in Manpura 'khad' in Baddi area.

"When the drivers of the tractor-trailers saw the red beacon, they didn't allow the vehicle to pass through," he said, adding that both the drivers had no mining permit.

A case has been registered under Section 341 of the Indian Penal Code (obstructing government functionary from performing duty) against the drivers.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh last week admitted in the assembly that illegal mining is enjoying political patronage. But he assured that his government would soon clamp down on the mafia.

Earlier, an attempt was made on the life of IAS officer Khan, a batchmate of the suspended Durga Shakti Nagpal of Uttar Pradesh, who had taken on the sand mining mafia in Gautam Budh Nagar district of her state.

"Mining in Punjab is banned and it is going on in a large scale in areas (of Himachal Pradesh) bordering Punjab," the chief minister said, during Question Hour.

"But we are going to tighten the noose around the mafia by framing tough laws which include the seizure of vehicles involved in mining and cancellation of licences," he said.

Khan had a narrow escape when a tractor-trailer loaded with gravel tried to ram his official vehicle while he was checking illegal quarrying in Nalagarh area, bordering Punjab, Aug 7.

Illegal mining in Himachal Pradesh is acute in Una, Solan and Sirmaur districts, adjoining Punjab and Haryana.

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