In a historic initiative aimed at ensuring supply of cheap sand and gravel, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday dedicated 16 mines to the people, thereby ensuring pit-head price of sand to Rs 5.50 per cubic feet.
Interacting with the media after dedicating 16 public mining sites spread over seven districts, the Chief Minister said the government has fulfilled another poll guarantee made with the people.
He said the government has eradicated the sand mafia which had flexed its muscles in the past to ensure that people get cheap sand. Now the sand will be sold at just Rs 5.50 in each of these mining sites.
The Chief Minister said only manual excavation of sand will be permitted in these mining sites and no mechanical excavation of sand will be allowed. He said no mining contractor will be allowed to operate in these public mining sites.
Mann said sand from public mining sites will only be sold for use in construction of non-commercial projects. The Chief Minister said the sale of sand will happen only till sunset and a government official will always be present to regulate the extraction of sand at each public mining site.
He said the government has built an app which will give complete information to people about mining sites and will even facilitate online payments. Mann said that 16 mines have been dedicated to the people and by next month 50 more such mines will be operational across the state.
The Chief Minister said it will eliminate middlemen in the sale and purchase of sand and gravel, leading to empowerment of the common man. He said it is now one of the lowest rates at which sand is available to any person across the country.
The presence of public mining sites will automatically distort the prices and cause them to stabilise at a lower level, as these mines present a regular alternate avenue for the common man for purchasing cheap sand.
Listing the several guarantees fulfilled by the state government so far, the Chief Minister said within 10 months of assuming the charge, the state has eliminated the transport mafia.
He said free power has been provided to 87 per cent households of the state since July 2022. Mann said more than 26,000 government jobs have been provided so far to the youth of the state and more are in pipeline.