Caught in ‘sandstorm’ | Won’t scrap auctions arbitrarily: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh
Dismissing any “arbitrary action” on the issue, Amarinder said he would not succumb to political pressure. “Any decision in the matter will be based on judicious application of the law,” he said in a statement issued here.punjab Updated: Jun 04, 2017 20:41 IST
Refusing to buckle under the Opposition’s pressure, Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Sunday ruled out cancellation of the recent sand mine auctions.
Dismissing any “arbitrary action” on the issue, Amarinder said he would not succumb to political pressure. “Any decision in the matter will be based on judicious application of the law,” he said in a statement issued here.
The chief minister (CM) said information gathered by him showed that the auctions were conducted with “total transparency and fairness”, under the supervision of a committee headed by a retired high court judge and two senior Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers.
Auctions were conducted with total transparency and fairness... Any decision in the matter will be based on judicious application of the law.Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab CM
As far as the charges against irrigation and power minister Rana Gurjit Singh were concerned, Capt said the government was awaiting the report of the judicial commission set up to probe the case.
“Unless categorically proved to the contrary, there was no reason to believe lack of transparency in the process of auction of 102 mines through progressive bidding process on the e-auction platform by ITI Ltd, an Indian Government PSU (public sector undertaking),” the CM said, reacting to reports on impartiality in the auction process.
Since it was a web-based system, the identity of the bidders participating in the e-auctions, conducted on May 19 and 20, was not known to other bidders to prevent any cartelisation, or use of pressure of any kind to prevent bidding by other bidders, stated the release.
A government spokesperson, giving further details of the entire auction process, said the reserve price was fixed while considering the royalty (Rs 60 per tonne) and other government expenses, and the bidders were given sufficient time for depositing the requisite earnest money along with other documents. The reserve price was fixed depending upon the material available in each mine, and varied between Rs 6 lakh to Rs 9 crore, he said. Also, the e-auction dates and other details were widely publicised, which led to Rs 1,026-crore bids, he said. The spokesperson said these e-auctions were expected to boost supply of material and bring relief to consumers.