Struggling against Mining Gunda Tax Mafia and fighting to protect the Natural Resources of the state since a long time, RTI Activist and AAP Leader Advocate Dinesh Chadha has, quoting the government auction data, questioned the latest mining auction of 89 Quarries in the state. Advocate Chadha stated that the auction is against public interest and is disastrous for the environment and has asked the state government to review its mining policy. He also appealed to the Environment Ministry of the Centre to interfere in this matter. Citing the government auction data, Chadha briefed that the Punjab Government has auctioned 1.3 Crore Ton Material for 1026 Crores. By simple calculation, it means that Punjab Government has sold the sand-gravel material for 789 per ton to the contractors. Additionally, as per government terms, the contractor is bound to pay 60 per ton as Royalty, 6 per ton as Environment Management Fund and $20 per ton as District Mineral Foundation Fund. The cost of transporting the raw material from the quarries to the crushers is around 125 per ton on average. As per these figures, the cost of 1 Ton of raw sand-gravel comes out to be 1000 (789 + 60 + 6 + 20 + 125). The Tipper vehicle used to transport sand-gravel has a capacity of 30 Ton normally, which means that a Tipper of raw sand-gravel would cost 30,000 to the crushers.
The rent for a Tipper to transport processed sand-gravel to nearby cities is at least 10,000. So, as per this auction, a tipper of sand-gravel would cost at least 40,000 to the end consumer while the contractor’s profit will be additional to this. Advocate Chadha cautioned that in order to avoid losses while offering prices lower than 40,000, under this policy, the contractors would be incentivized to conduct large-scale illegal mining in large tracts of land in the neighborhood of the auctioned areas. Chadha warned that while on one hand common people would pay extra for sand-gravel under this policy; on the other hand, Natural Resources will be depleted and harmed because of the non-scientific methods that are used in illegal mining. The people staying in areas near mining quarries will have to face grave consequences owing to this illegal plunder of natural resources. Citing these figures, Advocate Chadha has appealed to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Cabinet Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to cancel this auction and bring in a more people-friendly, environment-friendly and business-friendly policy so that mining can be done in a more positive manner. Chadha has also appealed to the Environment Ministry of the Central Government in interfere in this matter.