Chandigarh, December 6
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Punjab, has accused the Captain Aamrinder Singh government of offering protective patronage to the mining mafia in the state, stating that if it failed to ‘stop’ illegally collecting ‘goonda tax’ setting up ‘nakas’ at vantage points, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), along with the affected industrialists from crusher industry, transporters, laborers, would ‘gherao’ Captain Amarinder Singh’s residence.
Addressing media persons at a press conference held at party headquarters here on Friday in the presence leaders of the Mubarikpur Crushers Association, leader of opposition (LoP), Harpal Singh Cheema, deputy leader of opposition (Dy LoP) Sarabjit Kaur Manuke, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Kulwant Singh Pandori, and Manjit Singh Bilaspur (All MLAs) have alleged that the chief minister’s office was extending undue political patronage to the mighty mining mafia in the state.
Harpal Singh Cheema alleged that the newly- political advisor of the chief minister, Kushaldeep Singh ‘Kiki’ Dhillon, was directly in comman of the sand mafia in the Mubarikpur and Handesra areas, qualifying that the political advisors appointed by him were the goonda tax collectors. He further added that, while on the one hand, the government was splurging worth crores of rupees on setting up ‘Invest Punjab’ on the other, it was ‘upooting’ the established crusher industry, to promote sand mafia, alleging that there was a distant hope of industrialists investing in the state.
On the occasion, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, referring to the Dod village (Faridkot), said that the sand mafia was ruling the roost everywhere, saying that Captain Amrinder Singh had left the Badals far behind in race to extend political protection to mafia ‘raj’.
Deputy leader Saranjit Kaur Manuke, said that there was ‘jungle raj’ everywhere in the state taking the security apparatus for a toss, adding that the government had failed on all fronts by backing out on the poll promises it made to the people to grab power.
On the occasion, Mubaripur Crusher Association president, Amarjit Bansal said that it was for the first time in 70 years that the government was actively engaged ruining the established crusher industry to promote the mining mafia.
He added that they had been running from pillar to post to buy justice but in vain, saying they had met the who’s who of civil administration and submitted memorandum to Patiala Member of Parliament, Maharani Parneet Kaur, but nothing had come out of the narrative as the mafia was still calling the shots. This had led to winding up of as many as 75 stone crushers in the area. He revealed that ‘gooda tax’, ranging between Rs 3000 and Rs 5000 per vehicle, was being collected from them, saying they were paying GST to the government and held valid licenses.
Others who were present on the occasion included trade wing president Neena Mittal, Navdeep Singh, Govinder Mittal, party spokesmen, Sandip Singla and state media chief Manjit Singh Sidhu.