Punjab to be divided into 100 clusters for mining sand, gravel : The Tribune India

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Punjab to be divided into 100 clusters for mining sand, gravel

Move aimed at reducing construction material cost for common man

Punjab to be divided into 100 clusters for mining sand, gravel

Sand-laden tractor-trailers at a mining site in a village. file



Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, February 28

Punjab will now be divided into 100 clusters for mining sand and gravel. At present, there are seven clusters that were made by the previous Congress government in 2018. This will ensure that several smaller players enter the mining business, which will reduce the prices of the basic construction material.

Auction of Quarries after approval

We want to ensure that the quarries in each cluster are auctioned after getting approval from the State Environment Impact Assessment Committee, including its mining and replenishment plan. A senior govt functionary

A competition between many smaller players is expected to bring down the prices of sand and gravel substantially.

The new policy aims at reducing the prices of sand and gravel for the common man and removing supply constraints to ease its availability in the market.

Over the past one year, prices of sand and gravel have zoomed like never before. Though the government has intervened by starting 33 public mines this month, the prices have come down (by 30 to 50 percent) only in areas surrounding these mines.

In districts of Bathinda, Mansa and Sangrur, which are away from the quarries, the prices of minor minerals are still high.

By the end of this fiscal, the government proposes to have 50 public mines operational. Under the new mining policy, the government proposes to open 150 public mines across the state, where a common man can go and get sand excavated for his personal need and load it on tractor-trailers. Other than the public mines, there will be several other quarries where commercial users can buy sand and gravel.

As is the case now, the prices of sand at the pithead will be capped at Rs 5.50 per cubic feet for both retail and commercial consumers. The government had capped the price of sand at Rs 5.50 earlier this month.

The draft mining policy, though not a part of the Cabinet agenda, was presented before the Council of Ministers at a meeting here today. The Cabinet was reportedly briefed about how the government proposes to implement its policy in March. This draft policy will be brought before the Cabinet for its approval later.

Official sources in the government said all the 100 clusters of mines would be auctioned in phases.

“We want to ensure that the quarries in each cluster are auctioned after getting all approvals from the State Environment Impact Assessment Committee, including its mining and replenishment plan,” said a senior government functionary.

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