Punjab Mining and Geology Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer said here, today, that the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led state government has broken the backbone of sand mafia by bringing transparency in the sand supply.
The Minister of Mines and Geology, who inspected the public sand mining site at Khoja village in Nawanshahr, today, said that the Bhagwant Mann led Punjab Government has fulfilled the promise of providing sand from the sand mines for Rs 5.50 per cubic feet to the people and has also proved that the transparency in governance and honesty towards public interest is the biggest priority of the state government.
He said now onwards neither any goon will be found for extortion in the name of mining nor there any illegal mining. He said that for the Punjab government, the interests of the common people are above the revenue from sand.
Meet Hayer said that in view of the massive response to the public sand mines in 7 districts of Punjab launched by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday from Ludhiana and the ease of providing sand to the common people, the scope of these mines will be extended by the end of this month. The number of public sand mines will be increased to 50 in 14 districts. He said that the target has been set to increase this number to over 150 by next year.
Responding a media query whether all 'clearances' have been taken from the competitive authorities to operate these public sand mines, the Minister said that there was a special instruction in this regard by the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, according to which these mines have been opened to the public only after taking necessary approvals from the the Honorable High Court and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).
Mining Minister Meet Hayer, who visited Khoja to intercat with the people who came to procure sand and the labourers who loaded the sand, walked barefoot through the river water to them and asked about any kind of additional charges, if taken by anyone and also took their feedback. The people who came there to buy sand and the sand loading labor said on this occasion that after about 15 years, open sale and supply of sand has to be found in Punjab like old times. The tractor-trolley owners apprised the Minister that earlier, the sand loading work and transportation was limited to machines and cranes and heavy commercial vehicles that rendered many people jobless but now the days have changes.
Meet Hayer said that he is satisfied that the Bhagwant Mann government's initiative of throwing open public sand mines has benefited the common people at the ground level. He said that the purpose of his inspection of these sites is to speed up the work of other public mines to be opened in the next few days.
Priority is being given to those places where the public mine is close to the main road, the road leading to the quarry is almost government owned, there is no charge for using the private road. He said that with the opening of more public sand mines in the state, there will be no paucity of sand for the needy persons who want to have a roof over their heads.
Similarly, to benefit the districts having no sand mine, a sufficient number of public mines would be opened in the districts, next to them. Director Mines and Geology Davinder Pal Singh Kharbanda, who was present on the occasion, told the Minister of Mines that to maintain transparency in the working of public sand mines and to check illegal mining, a 'QR code' will be sent to the buyer's mobile phone, in which sand Information related to site name, payment, date and sand slip duration can be viewed by scanning by the enforcement agencies.
On this occasion, AAP's Nawanshahr senior leader Lalit Mohan Pathak specially thanked the Minister of Mines Meet Hayer and appreciated the efforts to provide big relief to the common people by the Bhagwant Mann government through opening of public sand mines. He said that with this, the common people have not only got cheap sand, but hundreds of households have also got employment through filling and tractor transportation.
On this occasion, SSP Bhagirth Singh Meena, ADC (G) Rajiv Verma, SDM Nawanshahr Major Shivraj Singh Ball, DSP Nawanshahr Ranjit Singh Badesha, Superintending Engineer (Headquarters) Manoj Bansal of Mines and Geology Department, Executive Engineer Happy Kumar, SDO Gurjeet Singh, Tehsildar Sarvesh Rajan, AAP District Secretary Gagan Agnihotri, Sarpanch Pargat Ram, Numdar Bhupinder Singh and a large number of local people were present.