Chandigarh, August 11
On a day the Punjab Government approved a new policy to tackle the mining mafia, the Punjab and Haryana High Court said the mining menace was ever-growing in the state.
The illegal mining being carried out by well-connected unscrupulous individuals has degraded the entire environmental setup, causing great harm to the environment and ecological system of the region. Punjab & Haryana HC
“Undoubtedly, the illegal mining being carried out by well-connected unscrupulous individuals has degraded the entire environmental setup, causing great harm to the environment and ecological system of the region,” Justice Karamjit Singh asserted.
The assertion came as Justice Karamjit Singh dismissed a petition filed by former Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s nephew Bhupinder Singh, alias Honey, and another petitioner, Kudratdeep Singh.
The Punjab Cabinet today amended the state’s mining policy, revising the rates of sand at quarries from Rs 550 per 100 cubic ft to Rs 900 per 100 cubic ft.
For the first time in two decades, a survey has been ordered in all districts to help the government identify places where quarrying can be done. The reports are to be submitted to the government by November. A district mineral fund will be set up for the development of villages where quarries are allotted. The Cabinet also approved a new policy for crusher units and decided to impose an environment charge of Re 1 per cubic ft on output material.
Minister for Mines Harjot Singh Bains said, “With the changes in the policy, the price of washed sand will come down from Rs 3,500 per 100 cubic ft to about Rs 2,500. For the sand at stone crushers, we have fixed a maximum retail price. We expect the price of gravel to come down from Rs 3,300-Rs 3,500 per 100 cubic ft to Rs 2,500-Rs 2,700.” More inside
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