IEP Chandigarh, August 8
Following the directives given by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to provide sufficient sand to the people of the state at reasonable prices and to completely full stop illegal mining activities, Mining Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer on Tuesday has asked the department to find other new places for public mining sites and commercial sites by September 20. In a meeting with the officials of the department at Punjab Bhawan here today, the Mining Minister said that the State Government is committed to providing sufficient sand to the people at affordable prices. All necessary actions for approvals to start 40 clusters with 67 commercial sites should be completed by monsoon season so that they can be started from September 20. Out of the 40 clusters auctioned, technical bidding has been done so far for 32 clusters and financial bidding is still on. The government is giving sand to people from both public and commercial sites at Rs. 5.50 per cubic foot. Meet Hayer further said that so far 60 public sites have been dedicated by the Chief Minister to the residents of the state and 13 more public sites are being prepared to start operations soon. He directed the department to search for new places for the opening of more public sites so that the needs of the people can be met. The approvals in this regard should be expedited. Pending environmental clearances should be taken up immediately. Meet Hayer asked the officials of the department to intensify the campaign to completely stop the illegal mining activities. Negligence in this matter will not be tolerated. He said that drone services should be taken to make the checking work more efficient and should be started from the Rupnagar district as a pilot project. He said that 716 FIRs related to illegal mining have been registered from 15 April 2022 to 4 August 2023. The Minister further said that Hi-tech cameras are being installed by HDFC at check posts from the Bank’s CSR funds. The meeting was attended by Secretary Gurkirat Kripal Singh, Director DPS Kharbanda, Chief Engineer H.S. Mehndiratta, SEs and all XENs.