Punjab to offer online booking of sand, regulate prices The mining...

    Punjab to offer online booking of sand, regulate prices

    The mining policy of Punjab that’s is being drafted by the cabinet sub-committee proposes introducing online booking system for individuals and panchayats. If approved, the new system — meant to regulate retail prices of sand and based on best practices in 13 states — designated trucks in specific colours and equipped with global positioning system, would soon carry sand from the mines (rivers) to the stockyards.
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    online booking of sand

    After a meeting of the cabinet sub-committee on mining on Tuesday, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “The contractor’s role will be to carry sand from the mines to the stockyards. With fixing of rates and volumes the state’s revenue will go up. Telangana started with Rs 10 crore in 2014 and today it generates Rs 1,200 crore from the sector. Haryana has only one river and makes Rs 950 crore,” he said.

    The panel has also made a case for customer feedback system so that the quality, quantity and rates being charged for sand could be cross-checked by way of a third party customer feedback, said Sidhu.

    “Around 65% of the sand consumption is for capital infrastructure by the state but for the last 10 years, there is no record of sand. The excise department keeps track of cement that is used and it can be multiplied with five to estimate how much sand was used without bills,” he said.

    “If today a trolley of sand costs Rs 2,500, the cost can be brought down to Rs 1,000 and this will ensure that volumes go up,” he said. Looking at the need to rein in crushers, it has been suggested that the policy followed by Himachal should be replicated. There is a system of electricity rate at Rs 7 per unit and royalty at Rs 8 per unit.

    It has been proposed that demand assessment will also be made by designated universities and would include capital infrastructure. The sand mines will be liked with different geographical areas and individuals, local bodies and government departments would be able to order sand online.

    Sidhu said till now district survey reports were not prepared and there was no idea where sand was available and in what was its quality. “However, now top institutes like IITs and the Remote Sensing Centre at Ludhiana will be roped in to carry out the exercise,” he said.

    Before the final report is submitted by the cabinet sub-committee to chief minister Amarinder Singh, the policies of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh too will be studied in the coming days. The panel will submit its report by April 21 to the cabinet.

    As per the draft, the transporters carrying sand will be registered and there will be specific colour coding for such trucks. To check their movement, GPS and radio frequency ID will be provided. Stockyards will be designated at different locations depending on the demand for sand.

    No need for new taxes if mining tapped

    Navjot Singh Sidhu said mining was one sector, which, is properly tapped, could rule out the need for imposing new taxes in the state. “Punjab’s revenue from mining has gone up from Rs 40 crore to 130 crore after the Congress took over,” he said. Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Panchayati Raj minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa are the other members of the sub-committee.

    ‘It’s actually transport mafia’

    Asked about action against the sand mafia, Sidhu said, “The mining mafia that is talked about is actually transport mafia and the committee will suggest steps to check the menace. This observation has been made by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu and his state, along with Telangana have the best sand mining systems,” he added. The report is, meanwhile, unlikely to hold anyone individuals responsible for illegal mining.

    Info- realty.economictimes

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