Sunil Jakhar mum on illegal sand mining, but hails revenue rise
Auction kitty: Says besides revenue of Rs 450 cr from auctions against Rs 40 cr in the past, rates of sand have also come down and will get more affordable soon.punjab Updated: Feb 05, 2018 15:50 IST
Remaining mum on the issue of illegal sand mining in the state, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president and Lok Sabha member Sunil Jakhar hailed the state government for generating 10-fold revenue from sand and providing it at affordable rates to the public.
Jakhar, accompanied by local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was here to attend the Shaheed Parivar Fund function, organised by a vernacular newspaper group on Sunday, was speaking at a press conference after the event.
“The state government’s policy has proved right. Besides generating revenue of Rs 450 crore from sand mine auctions against Rs 40 crore the state earlier used to get, the rates of sand have also come down and will get more affordable further to the common public,” Jakhar said on a query that whether illegal mining has been stopped?
On the issue of ‘goonda’ tax, allegedly being taken from transporters at the Bathinda refinery, Jakhar said that they will check that whether the allegations are politically motivated or genuine.
When asked if the Congress government has been able to halt the illegal sand mining, Jakhar said that they have tightened the noose around illegal mining and there is a lot more that needs to be done.
“It is difficult to monitor which person is mining how much sand. We need technology and manpower to keep a check on it, which is a slow process and we are working on it,” he said.
Intervening in the matter, Sidhu suggested to weigh the truck ferrying sand and if it is carrying more quantum of sand than written on the slip, the truck should be impounded as this is how the practice of illegal mining could stop.
However, when told to implement it, Sidhu said that this is not his department. “Had the department been with me, I would already have taught them a lesson,” he said. Sidhu said that mining, which used to be auctioned for Rs 40 crore, has the potential to generate revenue of up to Rs 3,000 crore. “With efforts of our government, we have taken up the revenue to Rs 450 crore and soon it will reach Rs 2,000 crore,” he said.
On the issue of ‘goonda’ tax, allegedly being taken from transporters at the Bathinda refinery, Jakhar said that they will check that whether the allegations — people demanding ‘goonda’ tax are affiliated with Congress leaders —- are politically motivated or genuine.
“This is for sure that we will not spare anyone. I would also ask chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to look into the matter. We will not allow any kind of ‘goonda’ tax in the state,” he said.
Jakhar said that keeping aside political considerations of their workers, the CM has abolished truck unions. The SAD-BJP government allowed them for its vested interests, he said