Facing criticism from teachers and opposition party SAD, authorities in Punjab's Phagwara on Saturday withdrew its order of deputing government schoolteachers to check illegal mining.
More than 20 government teachers had been deputed to keep a check on trucks and trolleys, carrying sand, during night hours, according to the teachers' association.
This came a month after the Gurdaspur administration deputed government teachers at distilleries and breweries to keep a check on the supply of liquor. That order was also withdrawn following stiff opposition from teachers.
According to an order issued by the Phagwara Sub-Divisional Magistrate, a team of teachers have been formed to check trucks and trolleys, carrying sand, coming from various entry points into Phagwara sub-division in order to stop illegal mining.
Phagwara is in Punjab's Kapurthala district. Their duty hours were 9 pm till 1 am, as per the order. Teachers, along with police officials, were also asked to send a detailed report of vehicles every day to the authorities concerned.
However, following opposition from the teachers' association and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the order was cancelled on Saturday.
"We strongly oppose the decision to depute government teachers to check illegal mining,"Democratic Teachers' Front (Punjab) President Davinder Singh Punia said prior to the withdrawal of order.
He had feared that the unarmed teachers could be attacked by those who indulge in illegal mining business. "We demand that this order should be withdrawn immediately or else will launch an agitation," said Punia.
SAD's senior leader Daljit Singh Cheema dubbed this order as "shameful" and demanded from the state government to withdraw the same.
"After distilleries, now Punjab govt deputes teachers at various police nakas to stop sand mining. Timings from 9 PM to 01 AM. One fails to understand that why time and again govt is exposing teachers to liquor & sand mafia ? This shameful order should be withdrawn immediately," Cheema tweeted.