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Punjab govt. approves new sand, gravel mining policy

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.   | Photo Credit: File photo: Akhilesh Kumar

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Move to ensure adequate supply to consumers, curb rampant illegal mining

The Punjab government on Wednesday approved policy changes to enable the government to grant contracts by auction of mining blocks in strategically established clusters through progressive bidding instead of the earlier process of auction by individual mines.

The move is aimed at increasing the royalty receipt of the State exchequer, provide adequate supply at fair price to the consumer, and curb illegal mining.

An official statement said it was also decided that the department of Mining would launch an online Punjab Sand Portal for sale of sand to all consumers, small or medium. “All transactions-payments will be captured through online real-time monitoring system. The sale of sand would be controlled by electronic documentation linked to central documentation, with modern facility, and the daily progress report would be uploaded on the portal,” added the statement.

Notably, during 2017-18, four e-auctions of minor mineral mines were held. Due to speculative bidding in these auctions, it resulted in a significant number of mines being auctioned at very high prices. However, many of the contractors failed to operationalise these mines, which led to dearth of supply of sand and gravel, causing the market price of these commodities to remain high.

Surrender of licences

The Cabinet also approved a policy to allow promoters to surrender the licences in case they are unable to develop colonies or complete development works in colonies.

“The policy was necessitated in view of the difficulties faced by such promoters,” said the statement, adding that these promoters will now be able surrender the licences issued to them under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995, subject to certain conditions.

The Cabinet also gave its nod for an ordinance to amend Schedule 1-A of Indian Stamp Act, 1899, to enable increase in the stamp duty rates. It also decided to amend the industrial and business development policy of 2017 to give investment incentive by way of net SGST on intra-State sale.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 2:59:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-govt-approves-new-sand-gravel-mining-policy/article25252582.ece

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