Punjab's present Congress government has conducted a second auction of mining yesterday, but like the first auction, the second auction is also directly promoting the illegal mining mafia in the state. The government has not learnt anything from the dominance of the mafia in the first language and has not made any improvements in the process of this new auction.Issuing a press note, Aam Aadmi Party leader and RTI activist advocate Dinesh Chadha said that the government has auctioned 43 quarries, out of which 29 lakh tons of sand and gravel is to be mined. With this auction, the government has sold 29 lakh tons of sand and gravel for Rs 206 crore which translates to Rs. 710 per ton. On top of this price, the contractors will have to pay District Mineral Foundation Fund of Rs 20 per ton, Royality of Rs 60 per ton and Environment Management Fund of Rs 6 per ton separately while the cost of processing of sand gravel from raw material in crushers is estimated to be around Rs 125 per ton. So, the cost for the contractor for sand and gravel will be Rs 921 per ton. A typical Tipper carries 30 tons material, so this 30-toned Tipper will cost 27,630 rupees to the contractor, whereas the rent of the Tipper from the crusher to nearby towns and cities is approximately 10-12 thousand rupees. Thus, the price of this sand gravel tipper becomes almost 40 thousand rupees.
This price is calculated by taking an average of the total price of 29 lakh tones but if the price of sand gravel from some quarries at the acutioned prices is very astonishing. The Gajujgir quarry of Pathankot district, which has 11 thousand tons of material, has been bid for Pro-Nutrition firm at Rs 90,84,6000. At this rate, the contractor will have to pay approximately Rs 8469 per ton after adding Rs 60 per ton for royalty, Rs 20 per ton of the District Mineral Foundation Fund, Rs 6 per ton for Environment Management Fund, and Rs 125 per ton for the processing costs. This means that the contractor will have to pay Rs. 2,64,091 per ton of the sand and gravel after adding the cost of the transport. In the same way, the auction of the Chaharpur quarry at Amritsar Sahib which has 44,493 tons of material was done in the name of Rajiv Bhagat for 8,41,51,398. At this cost, it will cost the contractor Rs. 73,060 per tipper after including transportation. The winning bid for Barwala quarry of Amritsar Sahib district with 25,896 tons materialis Rs 6,69,77,056, after adding the transportation for a tipper will cost the contractor Rajiv Bhagat 92,500 rupees. Firozepur district's Gatta Badshah quarry, with 20,200 tons material has been sold for Rs 3,95,12,200. After including all the costs, a typical sand Tipper will be Rs. 75,010. Kamalwala quarry with 7,400 ton material in district Ferozepur has been given for a bid of Rs 3,65,11,400, which means the quarry contractor Satya Pal Sharma will spend Rs. 1,64,349 for a tipper of sand and gravel.
The Salkiana Quarry in District Jalandhar, which has 30,000 tons of material, has been taken by Jasvir Kumar for Rs 7,16,30,000. Including all the above mentioned costs, a tipper of sand-gravel will cost Rs. 8,794. Amit Mahajan has taken the Adalatgarh quarry in Pathankot district, which has 18,000 ton material, for Rs 9,10,91,000. Thus, with all of the aforementioned expenditure, a tipper of sand and gravel will cost Rs. 1,64,020 to him.This proves that in this auction, the average cost of a sand and gravel tipper ranges from the average of 40,000 rupees to 2,64,000 as in the case of the most expensive bid. It is not possible to sell sand and gravel at this rate. So to make up for their money and to make profits, the contractors will mine thousands of acres beyond the contract area, cutting mountains in the process using unscientific ultra-deep mining techniques. Already the water table is going down and water is changing its course due to the illegal mining in the state. Lush green hills are also in danger and now the state government has invited more such disasters through this auction. The Punjab government should immediately cancel this anti-people and anti-nature auction and formulate a new pro-people and nature-friendly policy. The National Green Tribunal should interfere and reject this auction using these figures.