Punjab government on Monday directed all Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to personally ensure availability of sand and gravel and other construction material to public at reasonable price and ensure the working of all auctioned mines at their full capacity.
Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal after reviewing the availability of mining material to the common public, directed DCs to ensure that no body was allowed to create artificial scarcity of mining material by not operating the mines or under operating the mines just for profiteering.
“It was imperative for district authorities to monitor the dispatch of excavated mining material everyday and send the report to Central Control Room daily,” Sukhbir said while asking Principal Secretary to Chief Minister SK Sandhu to coordinate with all Deputy Commissioners, Mining Department and Pollution Control Department to remove inter-departmental impediments delaying the auction of mines.
Sukhbir also ordered to immediately auction of 100 mines below 50 hectares and said that the auction process should be accelerated to increase the supplies in the market and bring the price at reasonable level.
Badal also asked DCs to identify at least 100 such spots, where dredging of river was legally allowed. “Time has come that we should adopt most scientific dredging techniques to excavate sand from the river beds without harming the environment and surface mining, if possible, should be avoided as we should not destroy the cultivable land just for mining,” Sukhbir Badal said.
He also ordered the concerned department to immediately auction 4.57 lakh tonnes of Mining material that is lying in two districts, awaiting the procedural clearance for auction.
He added that the mining material could fulfill the requirement of whole Punjab for at least 4 months and asked the Irrigation Department to conduct statewide river bed mapping to identify suitable spots for the dredging of sand.
“Punjab has 800 kilometer long Canal network and there was huge possibility of dredging sand scientifically from the river bed. The Industry Department to delegate the power to SDMs/Tehsildars/Naib Tehsildars for excavating soil for construction purpose for such area,” Sukhbir said while ordering DCs to cancel all those contracts of mines, who have not started their operations.
“No body will be allowed to monopolized trade to create scarcity of the construction material and Deputy Commissioners has been asked to ensure proper working of newly setup sale points of mining material,” he added.