Cong MLAs annoyed over hidden sand mines coming on record. The ruling Congress MLAs and some ministers have started putting pressure on Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on the issue of sand mine quarries. Actually, the Chief Minister wants to bring all the sand mine quarries on record, but some of his colleagues are opposing it. At present, there are 400 sand and gravel quarries and the plan is to add more than 100 new quarries to the current figure. The Chief Minister is witnessing big revenues from the quarries, so, only a few days ago, he had sought a report from the industry department. In a couple of days, on October 1, sand mining work in the quarries will be begin in the state.Due to the monsoon season, sand and gravel mining work ceases from July 1 to September 30. Two tenders have been conducted for mining of sand. The first tender was on May 19-20, in which the government had generated revenue of Rs 1,026 crore of 98 quarries. The government had secured bids worth Rs 206 crore in its second auction for 55 mines, conducted on July 5. The third tender could not be conducted as more than 70-old contractors had filed writ petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court appealing for old rates that was only Rs 45 crore.Although, it may be any party in power, but everybody wants to take possession of sand and gravel quarries. But some of the Congress ministers and MLAs are unhappy about the decisions taken by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. The case of sand and gravel is one of such. Sources reveal that the Chief Minister wants to take tough decisions to increase the state’s income, but his colleagues are opposing him in some cases. The reason is that there are many Congress leaders involved in sand mining work through illegal means.Sources said that the Chief Minister has issued instructions to bring all the quarries on the record. So that they can also get income from hidden mines. According to information, more than 100 sand quarries are not in government record. However, the ruling party leaders are showing their resentment for hidden quarries. An industry department official said, on condition of anonymity, that he was under pressure to not include new quarries without discussing with big-wigs. Sand and gravel quarries exist in Ropar, Mohali, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Moga, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Tarn Taran.
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