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Under fire, Badal government amends sand mining rules

Posted on Sep 02 2014 | IANS

Chandigarh, Sep 2 : Under fire from various quarters for patronising the sand mafia in the state due to which sand prices went up significantly, the Parkash Singh Badal government in Punjab Tuesday approved amendments to the rules to make sand mining more transparent.

The state cabinet, at its meeting here, approved amendments in the Punjab Minor Mineral Rules, 2013, which will allow the state industries department to allot 37 quarries to the Punjab State Industrial Export Corporation (PSIEC) at a fixed rate of royalty to supply cheap sand and 'bajri' (gravel) to consumers.

A spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office said that the PSIEC would ensure the supply of sand and bajri at pit-head level at fair price. He said that the Punjab Mandi Board would supply the minerals to the consumers at their doorsteps or at market committee yards by charging transport rates fixed by the transport department.

"The cabinet also decided to bifurcate the post of director, industries and mining. A separate officer of the requisite seniority would be posted as director, mining, whose sole responsibility would be to look after the mining of minor minerals in the state and supply thereof," the spokesperson said.

The Badal government had been blamed for promoting a sand mafia which was carrying out sand mining and charging prices at will. This had led to escalation of sand prices in the past two years.

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