The Punjab’s Mining Department is all set to introduce public mining sites in the state to ensure that sand and gravel are available at reasonable rates to the general public.
Terming the decision a historic and path-breaking initiative of the Bhagwant Mann-led state government, Mining and Geology Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer said these sites will help in checking malpractice to jack up the prices of sand and truly give the freedom of choice to the common man to buy sand from the source of his choice and at the price of his choice.
The minister said the CM would shortly announce details of all such sites in various districts in the state and the first public mining site would be inaugurated soon.
While divulging the details, Hayer said the public mining site would be a mine where any person, requiring sand for his personal use, can purchase it by paying only Rs 5.50 per square feet.
Such a person would be required to get his own transport vehicle along with labour to extract the required quantity of sand from the site. No JCBs or any other similar form of mechanical mining would be allowed in any public mining site nor would any contractors be allowed to mine in it. Government officials would be present on the site to collect the sale price and issue a proper receipt against it, the minister said.
On the availability of sand and gravel in the state, the minister said mining operations had resumed in Ropar and Pathankot districts and would soon commence in other districts too. He said the department was making all out efforts to ensure that sand and gravel were available at reasonable rates to the public and the rates have already started seeing a downward trend.
Transporters, crusher owners and miners have been cautioned against overcharging and deputy commissioners have been asked to depute teams to randomly call up the consumers to inquire about the rate paid by them for sand or gravel, Hayer said.