The Punjab government informed the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday that it was going to conduct mining auctions for 13 sand quarries in five districts- Jalandhar, SAS Nagar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur on February 14.
The high court had on December 14 last year given the go-ahead to the state government for the auction of mining quarries in five districts, to be done only after following relevant rules and under strict monitoring of the authorities concerned.
After the coming into operation of these sand quarries, escalated prices of sand in the state due to black-marketeering would come down, bringing relief not only to private consumers but also to the government for completing its pending projects.
However, hearing the case, justice Rajive Bhalla also asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to consider taking part in the mining auctions for their projects and cautioned to ensure that it did not misuse the option for further benefiting the project concessionaires.
Meanwhile, the Haryana government informed the court that it had made the relevant policy for brick-kiln owners about the process to be followed by them for getting environmental clearance. On this, the bench, while disposing of the petitions, directed the brick-kiln owners to act as per rules made by the state government.
Appearing for the central government, senior standing counsel Onkar Singh Batalvi informed the court that the Centre was considering changes in the policy regarding environmental clearance for brick-kiln owners at the highest level and the decision would be taken soon.
The case would now come up for hearing on February 22.