In order to provide relief to the people of the state, the Punjab government has decided to slash the ever-increasing sand prices by more than half.
It will now be sold at people’s doorstep at Rs 8 per cubic ft. At present, sand is being sold in the state by private contractors for Rs 22 to Rs 30 per cubic ft and they do not deliver it to the consumer at his doorstep.
It will bring down the cost by more than half, providing a major relief to the consumers.
The government decision was conveyed by SAD president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal when he presided over a meeting of district presidents of the party here.
A tractor trolley with a capacity of 200 cubic ft, which earlier cost Rs 6,000, will now be available for Rs 1,600.
The Punjab cabinet had already decided that the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) would execute the digging of the sand quarries while the Punjab Marketing Board would home-deliver it. At present, the PSIEC is in control of three sand mines and intends to take over eight more to meet the demand.
During the meeting, Sukhbir said he had also asked the Punjab police not to meddle in the sand business and they should only stick to their job of maintaining the law and order. As per the order, the police would have no authority to stop, check and monitor vehicles carrying sand.
The state government has been drawing a lot of flak for not restraining the Punjab police from their involvement in the sand business. Cops in districts and at the subdivision level would monitor and control the sale and purchase of sand.
For curbing the illegal business of sand, Sukhbir has decided to constitute a task force of 200 police personnel under a police officer of the rank of SP. The task force would keep a watch on illegal quarries and also on trucks, JCBs or trailers carrying sand or any other building material.
It has also been decided that there would be no check on the plying of tractor trolleys carrying sand, especially those by farmers. “Farmers would be free to sell or purchase sand from anywhere in their tractor trolleys. They can even dig sand from their agricultural fields or from someone they have a mutual understanding with,” Sukhbir told the district presidents.
He also told them that they should not support or encourage any lower-rank police official indulging in the drug trade in their areas. “It should be immediately brought to my notice. I won’t hesitate to dismiss him from service,” Sukhbir said.