Punjab probing 'goonda' tax, illegal mining: Badal

Chandigarh, Oct 21 (IANS) The Punjab government is investigating allegations of "goonda" tax being levied by certain vested interests in illegal mining in the state, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said Monday.

He said illegal mining was being tackled expeditiously in the state and strict instructions had been issued to register cases in this regard in case of any complaint.

Badal told media here that he was "personally keeping a tab" on illegal mining, besides issuing strict directions not to spare anyone indulging in this.

"An investigation is on to probe the allegations of goonda tax," he said.

Referring to cases of illegal mining, allegedly at the behest of senior ruling Akali Dal leaders, Badal said that though the illegal mining was happening across the country, the maximum number of cases had been registered against illegal miners in Punjab.

The goonda tax is being allegedly levied by a mafia on people engaged in illegal mining in Punjab and runs into several lakhs of rupees daily, sources in the trade said.

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