Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 14
Junking Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s report on the new mining policy to be brought for Punjab, the government is likely to prepare a new mining policy.
Though the basic preamble of the policy will remain the same as suggested in Sidhu’s report (sand and gravel are to be sold at government controlled rates), his Cabinet colleagues are reportedly not in tandem with him on many of the suggestions, including the setting up of mineral development corporation and taking over the entire mining business by the government.
Rural Development Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said the policy, presented by Sidhu, could not be adopted as such, as it was just Sidhu’s personal input for framing the policy. “There are a lot of issues that need to be discussed threadbare and suggestions of other members in the Cabinet sub-committee have to be included. It has to be a collaborative effort,” he said, adding that he had not seen the report even though he was part of the sub-committee that was entrusted to make the policy. “Whatever I know of the policy framed by him is from media reports,” he said.
As against what Sidhu proposal of taking over all mining operations, the government is likely to take over mining in just five quarries initially. Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Minister for Mines and Geology, said initially they proposed to start mining on their own in five quarries. “We cannot take over the entire mining business immediately,” he said.
The ministers are also questioning the veracity of financial predictions made in Sidhu’s report. Sidhu has predicted that his policy, if adopted, would lead to the government earning Rs 5000 crore. However, this figure is trashed by other ministers.
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