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Punjab proposes new mining policy

The Punjab government unveiled its new mining policy wherein it has proposed a cap on the maximum retail price of sand and to put it under the Essential Commodities Act to curb its hoarding.



Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Tuesday unveiled its new mining policy wherein it has proposed a cap
on the maximum retail price of sand and to put it under the
Essential Commodities Act to curb its hoarding.

"The new mining policy is aimed at bringing transparency
in auctioning of quarries, besides ensuring that the maximum
retail rates of mining does not go up," State Minister for
Industry Manoranjan Kalia told reporters here.
Besides, the state has announced that it will come out
with an Environment Management Plan by October this year,
wherein environment clearance for mining of over five hectares
of land will be required.

Under the new mining policy, the state government has
decided to fix the maximum retail price of sand, "Beyond this
rate, no body will sell the sand in the state," the minister
said.
"Sand has also been declared as essential commodity so as
to curb excessive mining and its hoarding," Kalia said, adding
that, "If a contractor charges more than the prescribed rate
or excessive mining is done, then he would be liable to be
punished under the Essential Commodities Act".

The state has also decided to impose entry tax on sand
coming from other states to protect interest of its own
miners.

"There will be an entry tax on sand like other states
have done," he said.

Punjab would hold e-auction for a three year contract of
quarries with an area of less than five hectares in order to
bring transparency in the mining trade.

"For the quarries over more than 5 hectares, the state
will seek environment clearance in pursuance to EIA
notification 2006," he said.

Initially, state will conduct e-auction of 165 locations,
which have a area of less than five hectares.

Minister said land owner or panchayats would be given
royalty irrespective of mining being done or not, a diversion
from earlier practise.

"Even if the auction is held and mining is not done, land
owner will get royalty," he said.

The Minister further informed that the royalty given to
panchayats will be doubled to Rs 20 per tonne as against Rs 10
per tonne previously.

Punjab has also decided that the tax levied on the sand
by the Excise Department would be abolished.

PTI

From Zee News

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