The Punjab council of ministers on Friday gave its nod for amending Punjab Minor Mineral Rules, 2013, thereby giving certain exemptions “in larger public interest”.
The owners of landholdings are now allowed to extract sand and gravel for meeting personal requirement. This would help the state government keep the price of sand/gravel at reasonable levels and to help people in their traditional and economic activities, a spokesman claimed. The amendment would ensure easy availability of earth to the ‘ghumiar’ community (potters) for carrying out their traditional work besides allowing farmers to level their agricultural fields and sell extra minor mineral coming out of such activity, he added.
The cabinet also approved another amendment in the rules, facilitating the industries department in operation of quarries through the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation for checking prices of sand/ gravel in the state. An amendment to the ‘guidelines for registration and working of stone crushers in the state of Punjab 2012’, facilitating the owners already facing cases under the Mining Act to apply afresh for the registration of their units was also approved.
Potable water project for all villages
The cabinet also approved the 2nd Punjab rural water and sanitation sector improvement project of `2,200 crore to be funded by the World Bank. This involves achieving higher level of drinking water supply and construction of toilets in all villages making Punjab free from open defecation.
This project would be implemented in six years from 2015 to 2021.
Manpower pool for aviation
The cabinet also gave its nod to form the Punjab State Civil Aviation Council (PSCAC) for expanding civil aviation training, augmenting infrastructure and acquiring new equipment in the aviation sector. This would help the state’s youth
gain access to cost-effective training, a spokesman claimed.
Amendments in PTU Act
In a move to ensure uniformity in the Board of Governors of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar and Maharaja Ranjit Singh State Technical University, Bathinda, the cabinet approved amendments in the Punjab Technical University Act, 1996, deputing the state chief secretary as the chairman of the board of governors.
Loans for heritage monuments
The cabinet also decided to amend the Punjab Ancient, Historical Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Cultural Heritage Maintenance Board Act, 2013, for the repayment of loans already taken or to be taken.
Two new private universities
Under the Punjab Private Universities Policy 2010, the cabinet approved the bills for setting up of two self-financed universities — the Surya World University near Rajpura in Patiala district and the Akal University at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district.
Committee for sugar mills
The cabinet also decided to form a committee under the state chief secretary to resolve the crisis being faced by the sugar mills in the state, after realising that the downfall in the industry was due to the steep fall in the wholesale prices of sugar, the spokesman said.