Lucknow, Aug 2: Amidst uproar over suspension of a woman IAS officer allegedly under pressure of the "mining mafia", the Uttar Pradesh government is working on a proposal to constitute a special "mining force" to check illegal mining activities in the state.
"The government is considering a proposal to set up an exclusive mining force to check illegal mining activities in the state," Minister of State for Mining (Independent Charge) Gayatri Prasad Prajapati told PTI.
The need for the exclusive force for mining department is being felt for a long time as it has became difficult for the ground level staff to check illegal activities of "mining mafia" for want of it, he said.
Many times mining officers in the district are not in a position to work out on information of illegal mining for lack of resources like vehicle and staff, the minister said, adding that he has also proposed that they should be entitled to use blue beacon in their vehicles.
About the mining force, the minister said fresh recruitments would be done and those employed will be trained and also given latest arms to combat unscrupulous elements, if needed.
"The state government is committed to check illegal mining and those involved will be dealt with an iron hand. The constitution of the force will reduce dependency on police and put an effective curb on illegal mining," he said.
The move is seen as an attempt by the state government to refurbish its image after suspension of 2010 batch IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal on July 27.
Nagpal had launched a crackdown on the "mining mafia" in Gautam Buddha Nagar in Noida and was in the news for curbing illegal mining activities in the district by getting over two dozen FIR registered against those involved in illegal sand mining.
Special flying squads were formed by the officer to stop the raging menace along Yamuna and Hindon rivers in Western UP. Her suspension, opposition parties alleged, was done under pressure of the "mining mafia", a charge denied by the state government.