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Why Punjab CM Amarinder Singh is so helpless in stopping illegal mining and Goonda Tax?

February 28, 2018 09:32 PM

By Satinder Bains
CHANDIGARH: In great embarrassment to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh , the illegal mining and collection of Goonda Tax in Punjab is continuing despite repeated directions to the Police and civil administration.

Capt Amarinder Singh had made promise with the people of Punjab to end illegal mining, Goonda Tax and corruption in the government beside eliminating transport and liquor mafia. Capt Amarinder seems helpless in addressing the issues particularly when people had voted him into power with high hopes. Why he is not able to control illegal mining and collection of Goonda Tax and why SSPs and Deputy Commissioners not implementing his order are mind boggling questions.

Capt Amarinder Singh had lost his credibility when he appeared defending former minister Rana Gurjit Singh whose name figured in sand mining scam. Several other Congress MLAs also suspected to be part of mining mafia and Goonda Tax collection. Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to take action against his minister and MLAs who allegedly took over the business of illegal mining from SAD leaders. Police had rather supported the Congress leaders to grab the mines and turned a blind eye to it.

The name of a senior cabinet minister Manpreet Singh Badal had figured in the case of Goonda Tax being collected from transporters working with Guru Gobind Singh refinery in Bathinda district. The media reports had suggested that a close relative of Manpreet Badal is threatening the transporters and forcing to pay Goonda Tax. The concept of Goonda Tax was started during the SAD-BJP government headed by Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal. Capt Amarinder Singh initially continued to ignore the issue which sent wrong signals to the police and civil administration.

Interestingly Capt Amarinder Singh today during a meeting ordered the SSPs to crack down on mining mafia and Gooda Tax mafia. This is third time in last two months that Capt Amarinder Singh had issued such orders. Earlier, the CM office issued a statement that Capt Amarinder Singh has directed the DGP Suresh Arora to act against the illegal mining and Goonda Tax. It proved to be a cosmetic exercsie since illegal mining and Goonda Tax continued unabted. Even the DGP last week issued insturctions to SSPs to take stern action against those indulging in illegal mining and Goonda tax collection. The orders of DGP also remained ineffective due to involvement of senior politicians.

The instructions issued tio SSPs today seemed another face saving exercise as the media reports suggest SSPs are taking instructions from Congress MLAs and not the Chief Minister. The repeated orders of CM also show communication gaps between government and the party. Either Capt Amarinder Singh is not keen to take action in these matters due to his political compulsions or his media team is keeping him in the dark about reports in newspapers blaming Congress ministers and MLAs indulging in corrupt practices. Even former minister Rana Gurjit Singh was removed from cabinet on the intervention of AICC president Rahul Gandhi.

It will come clear in the coming days how effective are orders of Capt Amarinder Singh. The fact is that Police had earlier ignored his orders of implementing traffic rules with strict hand. Capt Amarinder Singh had issued these orders when 19 students were crushed by a speeding truck in Bathinda. Punjab Police has failed to implement traffic rules and road accidents have became a routine matter. A strong transport mafia is existing in Punjab and it is becoming difficult for CM to get his orders implemented.

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