The Punjab Government on Tuesday unveiled its new mining policy wherein it has proposed a cap on the maximum retail price of sand and to put it under the Essential Commodities Act to curb its hoarding.
“The new mining policy is aimed at bringing transparency in auctioning of quarries, besides ensuring that the maximum retail rates of mining does not go up”, Minister for Industry Manoranjan Kalia told reporters here.
Besides, the State has announced that it will come out with an Environment Management Plan by October this year, wherein environment clearance for mining of over five hectares of land will be required.
Under the new mining policy, the State Government has decided to fix the maximum retail price of sand. “Beyond this rate, no body will sell the sand in the State,” the Minister said.
“Sand has also been declared as essential commodity so as to curb excessive mining and its hoarding,” Mr. Kalia said and added: “If a contractor charges more than the prescribed rate or excessive mining is done, then he would be liable to be punished under the Essential Commodities Act.”
The State has also decided to impose entry tax on sand coming from other States to protect interest of its own miners.
“There will be an entry tax on sand like other States have done,” he said.
Punjab would hold an e-auction for a three-year contract of quarries with an area of less than five hectares in order to bring transparency in the mining trade.
“For the quarries over more than 5 hectares, the State will seek environment clearance in pursuance to EIA notification 2006,” he said.
Initially the State will conduct e-auction of 165 locations, which have an area of less than five hectares.
The Minister said land owner or panchayats would be given royalty irrespective of mining being done or not, a diversion from earlier practise.
The Minister further informed that the royalty given to panchayats will be doubled to Rs 20 per tonne as against Rs 10 per tonne previously.
Punjab has also decided that the tax levied on the sand by the Excise Department would be abolished. - PTI