11 quarries to be fully operational by coming Monday-Sukhbir Badal

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Chandigarh, January 7, 2015: With a view to drastically reduce the prices of sand in the state, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today said 5 quarries out of 11 had been commissioned earlier and now 6 more would become operational by Monday. Besides this, 29 more mines will be made functional by February 7 after getting environment clearances from Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in the next week.

While presiding over a high level meeting accompanied by Agricultural Minister Jathedar Tota Singh, Deputy CM reviewing the mining and provisioning of sand and gravel on subsidised rates, said Punjab had received clearances from MoEF for 11 quarries out of which 5 mines at Sangera (Moga), Pawat and Kumkalan (Ludhiana), Digana Khurd (Hoshiarpur) and Burj Tehal Das (SBS Nagar) were already functional. Giving clear and explicit directions he asked the PSIEC to operate 6 new quarries by coming Monday including Adranman and Bassian (Moga), Gujjarwal Bet, Mand Chaunta and Miana (Ludhiana) and Jhugian Maha Singh in Jalandhar district. He also directed the Mandi Board to install display boards carrying subsidised rates at quarry sites as well as delivery points in all the 130 market committees.

Reviewing the availability of mining material, the deputy CM said environment clearances for 29 quarries were in pipeline with MoEF and were likely to get green signal within week and be fully operational by February 7 for the facilitation of general public to purchase sand and gravel on subsidised rates. Mr Badal said quarrying of sand and bajri should be accelerated to increase the supply in the market and bring the price to a very reasonable level.

He also said Punjab government was committed to provide sand and gravel on reasonable rates to the people of state that’s why the state has put an embargo on ferrying of sand and gravel out of state and it would be taxed as royalty. He asked the Industry Department to issue necessary instructions in this regard to all concerned authorities to implement the decision of State at ground level. Mr. Badal said the timing of mining will remain from 8 am to 8 pm only.

He asked the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) to install CCTV cameras on all pitheads in two weeks so that transparency level in mining could be enhanced. Mr. Badal also directed that helpline numbers should also be given by Mandi Board from where people could get the necessary information besides registering complaints, if any. He also directed Mandi Board to launch a sustained advertisement and awareness campaign to dispense relevant information at grass root level.

Taking serious note of illegal mining and unauthorised ferrying of sand and gravel,  Badal has also formed three mining zones in Punjab namely Doaba, Malwa and Majha which would be supervised and monitored by 3 retired officers of Indian Army in the rank of Generals. He said these officers would report to Punjab Government for further necessary action. He added that four police officials at each district and three DSPs with one SP at headquarters Chandigarh had already been deployed to assist the mining officers.

Extending relief to the rural population of Punjab Badal said people having tractor-trolleys could load their trolleys with sand/gravel from nearby quarries after getting a payment slip from Mandi Board. To check commercial practices tractor-trolleys would not cover the radius of more than 50 kilometers.

Focusing on canals and riverbed dredging to excavate sand, Deputy CM asked Chief Secretary to submit report within fortnight after identifying such spots where dredging of canals and river could be possible. He said Punjab had 800-km-long canal network and there was huge possibility of dredging sand scientifically from the riverbed.  Deputy CM said he would personally monitor the availability of mining material to the general public and review the position after two weeks.

Prominent amongst present in the meeting included Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, Principal Secretary Industry.P. Reddy, Principal Secretary to Deputy Chief Minister P.S. Aujla, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Gaggandip Singh Brar, Secretary Mandi Board Deepinder Singh, Meida Advisor to CM Harcharn Bains, Special Principal Secretaries to Deputy Chief Minister Manvesh Singh Sidhu, Ajay Mahajan and Rahul Tiwari.

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Date: 
Wednesday, January 7, 2015