Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today directed the mining department to explore the possibility of setting up a mining corporation as suggested by state cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
However, Amarinder gave in-principle approval to continue with progressive bidding for grant of mining contracts.
The chief minister took these decisions while chairing a high-level meeting to discuss various issues relating to mining in the state, amid opposition targeting the state government on alleged illegal mining in the state.
Since the establishment of Mining Corporation, on the lines of Telangana as suggested by Navjot Singh Sidhu, may take time, the chief minister said the state government would continue to follow the progressive bidding policy, which it had adopted and which had been upheld by the Supreme Court.
This would help ensure that the mining process is carried out with transparency and illegal mining is curbed, he added.
Giving details of the meeting, an official spokesperson said Sidhu's suggestion was discussed threadbare and it was decided to follow up the discussions with a detailed examination of the proposal to see how best it could be taken forward.
Sidhu, who as chairman of the cabinet sub-committee constituted for the purpose of formulating a comprehensive policy on sand mining, had recommended for the setting up of a government-run corporation to sell sand at Rs 1,000 per 100 cubic feet. Sidhu had even visited Telangana for framing a new policy.
After Sidhu submitted the policy on sand mining, there were speculations that whether the state government would implement it or not.
Expressing concern over escalating prices of sand as a result of stringent steps taken by the government to check illegal mining, the chief minister directed Revenue and Irrigation minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria to initiate immediate steps for desilting of rivers for flood protection and start the process immediately after the monsoons.
The de-silted sand could be pumped into the market to ease the pricing pressure, he added.
Reiterating his government's zero tolerance to illegal mining, Amarinder asked the mining department to deploy high-end monitoring equipment, including geo-tagging of sites and installation of GPS tracking of trucks, to improve enforcement check unlawful mining.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)