CHANDIGARH, January 10: Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Capt Amarinder Singh today demanded the cancellation of the auction of all the sand mines held today. Questioning the genuineness of the auction, he said, the mines have been allotted for unrealistically high bids defying all financial logic. He said, the way auction has been held will only lead to monopoly both in mining of sand as well as its pricing and it will virtually be impossible for the common man to build a house as sand will now be much more costlier than cement.
Maintaining that the sand mafia patronised by the henchmen of the revenue minister and Youth Akali Dal president Bikram Majithia, had manipulated the auction, Capt Amarinder pointed out, the state government had held the auction for limited pits for an unrealistic figure of Rs 97 crores, which defies all logic and financial and economic wisdom with an intent to leave rest of the pits open for loot on the pretext of environmental issues.
Expressing doubts over the genuineness of the auction he said, while about two years ago the mines for the entire state had been auctioned for Rs 54 crores only, this time less than 20 pits in about six districts had been auctioned for Rs 97 crores. Of these five pits in the districts of Mohali, Ludhiana and Jalandhar had been auctioned for a whopping Rs 84 crores.
The PCC President revealed that one single pit in village Chandiala in district Mohali had been auctioned for Rs 34 crores. The same pit, he disclosed, had been auctioned for Rs 50 lakhs only about two years ago. He said, this much of increase defies all the logic.
Disclosing that the mining mafia patronised by Majithia had evolved a unique mechanism by ensuring unimaginable difference between the highest and the second highest bidder, he said, under this plan, the highest bidder will quote unrealistically highest bid and voluntarily forfeit his deposit after getting the mining rights and the second highest bidder under current practice, will automatically get the mining rights.
Demanding the cancellation of the auction, he also questioned the purpose of holding auction for a limited number of pits only. He said, this way those granted the mining rights will not only resort to loot of the sand mines in the state, but will also charge exorbitant prices. He said, this will also lead to corruption and unfair practices.
Quoting an example, Capt Amarinder said, in Ludhiana the mining rights of a single pit have been granted to one Puneet Makkar, who is the nephew of Akali leader Sarbjit Makkar. By getting the mining rights for a single pit after offering highest bid, the mining mafia will go for wanton mining in the entire district since it will have the monopoly both in sand quarrying as well as the pricing.