Punjab Cabinet approves revision in sand rate, fixes MRP for gravel

Punjab Cabinet approves revision in sand rate, fixes MRP for gravel

Chandigarh, August 11

The Punjab Cabinet on Thursday gave nod to revise rates of sand to Rs 9 per cubic feet and also fixed the maximum retail price of gravel at Rs 20 per cubic feet by amending the state’s mining policy.

The Cabinet also approved a new policy for crusher units and decided to impose an environment charge of Rs 1 per cubic feet on output material, which will fetch Rs 225 crore to the state exchequer.

Addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Mining Minister Harjot Singh Bains said the existing policy has been amended and the rate of sand has been revised from Rs 5.50 per cubic feet to Rs 9 per cubic feet.

He claimed that people did not get sand at the rate of Rs 5.50 per cubic feet.

The previous Congress government had reduced the rate of sand from Rs 9 to Rs 5.50 per cubic feet.

“Nobody ever got sand at the rate of Rs 5.50 per cubic feet. When we checked the files, we found the state government’s royalty was reduced from Rs 2.40 to 70 paise,” said Bains.

He said it was only mining contractors who benefited from the previous Congress government’s decision.

Bains said the MRP for gravel has been fixed at Rs 20 per cubic feet.

“Crushers will not charge more than the MRP for the processed material. This decision will lead to a healthy competition among crushers and will eventually benefit people,” said Bains.

He said officials of the Mining Department will be deputed at the sites to ensure that people get sand at Rs 9 per cubic feet.

As major burden to consumers come from the transportation rates, the department will prepare a mobile app connecting transporters and consumers while the rates will be fixed by the Department of Transport, he said.

He said surveys will be conducted in the state for sand mining. It will throw light on which areas mining can be carried out, he added.

The minister said a policy for crushers has been approved by the Cabinet.

As per the new policy, crushers will be allotted a mining site of five hectares or a multiple of five hectares to check illegal mining.

But it will not be mandatory for every crusher to take these sites, he said.

The allotment of these mining sites will be carried out through e-auction, he said.

The contracts will be allotted for a period of three years extendable up to four years provided there is material available at the site.

An environmental fund at the rate of Rs one per cubic feet has been imposed on the output material of crushers. It will generate revenue of Rs 225 crore, he said.

It has been made mandatory that weighbridges along with CCTV cameras be installed both at the mining site as well as at the crusher site to check illegal mining.

The sale of material at the crusher shall be monitored through an online portal. Registration fee for a crusher has been enhanced to Rs 1 lakh from existing Rs 10,000.

Apart from this, a security of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh will also be taken from the crusher units.

Crusher units shall also file monthly returns of the material processed by them.

The crusher owner will be required to pay penalty on the material processed by them in excess of the material procured from valid sources, he stated.

The policy also envisages provisions for suspension and cancellation of registration in case of any violation.

Punjab Cabinet approves revision in sand rate, fixes MRP for gravel