A two-day e-auction of sand mines in Punjab on Saturday received total bids worth Rs 1,026 crores for 89 mines. This amount is the highest ever earnings for the state government from the sand and mining business. The bid amount is more than 20 times than the last year’s bids of just Rs 40 crore.
Sand prices in Punjab had witnessed escalation in recent weeks following a crackdown by Amarinder government on the sand mafia. Allegations of controlling the mining mafia had been levelled against the Akali-BJP government, an issue that dominated the Punjab elections, along with rampant drug trade and accusations of SAD patronage to criminals.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh hailed the auction, saying the amount received in 2017 shows the extent to which the sand mafia was controlling the business and causing huge losses to the state exchequer.
“The release of surplus sand into the market will lead to easing of pressure, thus earning huge revenue for the state government, which will eventually lead to significant lowering of sand prices,” the CM said. He said the bidding would allay fears of the high progressive bidding triggering a price increase.
As many as 1,000 bidders participated in the e-auction of 102 mines conducted by the department of mining in four blocks on May 19 and 20, under the supervision of a retired high court judge and two IAS officers from other departments.Of the 102 mines put on auction, earnest money was received against 94, of which a total of 89 mines were finally auctioned, the government said. The new mines for which the e-auctions have been successfully conducted will release an estimated 1.30 crore tonnes of material into the market, thus adding to the existing capacity of 1.05 crore tonnes.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook