Seven minor mineral (sand/gravel) mining sites in Punjab - five in Pathankot district and two in Rupnagar district were auctioned for Rs. 17.13 crore in the open auction that took place on Friday at an unlikely venue, the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The bidding process took place in the court of justices Jasbir Singh and GS Sandhawalia during resumed hearing of two petitions challenging the e-auction process adopted by the state government allegedly to favour some politically-strong mining contractors by blocking the server during the online proceedings on August 12.
In Pathankot, Nalunga site was auctioned for Rs. 1.15 crore, Ghandran for Rs. 5.18 crore, Talwara Jatan for Rs. 3.53 crore, Belichanga for Rs. 1.19 crore and Tarketi for Rs. 1.2 crore. In Rupnagar, Bhallan site was auctioned for Rs. 4.6 crore and Palassey for Rs. 28 lakh.
The e-auction done for five minor mineral quarries of Pathankot on August 12 had fetched the state government Rs. 8.36 crore, but the same were auctioned for Rs. 12.25 crore on Friday.
The high court had on August 23 put on hold the further process of e-auction of 20 minor mineral quarries held on August 12 and had ordered open bidding for five mining quarries in Pathankot district and two in Rupnagar district to be held in the high court on September 6.
The petitions were filed by Gurdaspur resident Balbir Singh Goraya, who had unsuccessfully participated in the auction of five mining quarries in Pathankot on August 12, and SAS Nagar-based company Shree Marble and Building Material Store, which had unsuccessfully bid for two quarries in Rupnagar district.
Both petitioners had alleged that the server was blocked during the bidding process at 11am, much before its closing time of 2pm, denying them the opportunity to compete on equal terms with other bidders.
As there were also some complaints about the e-auction of other minor mineral quarries, the same would be heard on September 27.