Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday said mining mafia was enjoying political patronage in the state and assured the Assembly that government would take stern action to check illegal mining.
Replying to a question by BJP`s Satpal Singh Satti, he said the state government was mulling to bring a legislation to check illegal mining, which would have provisions like confiscation of the vehicle carrying illegally mined produce and cancellation of driving licence of the driver.
The Chief Minister`s remarks come two weeks after an attempt was made on the life of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Baddi, Yunus Khan, a batch mate of suspended Durga Shakti Nagpal of Uttar Pradesh, who took on a mining mafia in the state.
Singh said mining was banned in Punjab but illegal mining was going on unabated on a large scale in areas (of Himachal Pradesh) bordering Punjab.
Satti said since mining was banned in Punjab, illegal mining of sand and gravel had increased in HP and the price of sand had gone up by four times in recent days.
The Chief Minister said a new policy approved by the Cabinet provided for allowing locals to extract sand and gravel for bonafide use.