Mining resumes in Ropar, sand prices may decline

Mining resumes in Ropar, sand prices may decline

A riverbed being dug up for sand near Diwari village of Ropar. file

Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 8

The supply of sand and gravel in the region is set to ease as the state government has revoked the suspension of contract of mining in Block No. 1 (Ropar district) and the contractor has already started shipping the material.

Contractor deposits fee

  • The mining contract for Block No. 1 (Ropar district) had been suspended as contractor failed to deposit fee for last quarter, which has not been deposited
  • Contract for Block No. 7 (Mohali, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib), which too was suspended, may also be revoked soon with contractor agreeing to pay fee

According to sources, the suspension of mining contract of Block No. 7 (Mohali, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib) may also be revoked soon as the contractor has agreed to deposit the requisite fee with the department. The prices of sand have already shot up from Rs 25 per cubic foot to Rs 31.50 per foot as there were substantial curbs on illegal mining after the AAP government took charge, leading to a shortage of supply. The suspension of contracts further made things difficult for the common man, as people had to shell out more for construction material.

The authorities had claimed the contracts had been suspended because the contractor had failed to deposit the required fee for the last quarter. Contractor Rakesh Chaudhary has the mining lease rights in block Nos. 1 and 7 till March 18 and January 31 next year, respectively. The Ropar Mining Department authorities had claimed the contractor had to deposit nearly Rs 15 crore for continuation of his lease rights in the Ropar area.

The Mohali Mining Department had also issued a show-cause notice to the contractor on April 5, saying he was required to pay Rs 93.63 lakh for the period till November 9 last year, Rs 1.97 crore for November 10 to January 31, 2022, besides the first quarterly instalment of third year of contract of Rs 2.24 crore along with 18 per cent annual interest. He, however, had deposited a mere Rs 10 lakh only up to the date of suspension on February 22.

On the other hand, contractor Rakesh Chaudhary had claimed he had already paid more than Rs 18 crore in excess to the Mining Department against the contract in Ropar. Claiming he was preparing to challenge the suspension of contracts in court, Chaudhary said the department had failed to provide him the required material in quarries in Block No.7 due to which he was not interested in working there. Ropar Mining Department XEN Sartaj Singh Randhawa confirmed the contractor had deposited Rs 5 crore last week, following which the suspension of his Ropar contract was revoked on Friday.

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