39 quarries up for auction
Chandigarh: In all, 39 minor mineral (sand and gravel) quarries in 11 districts of Punjab will be auctioned off later this month. Wary, the Capt Amarinder Singh government seems to have finally put in place a system that ensures participation of genuine bidders.The state government has taken the screening and registration of bidders in its own hands, while it has decided to seek ID proof, address proof, PAN card and a request letter for user ID activation on the letterhead of the bidder.All this has been done primarily to ensure that bidders do not use their frontmen to participate in the auction, as had happened in May. The state government was left embarrassed after it was revealed that a cook of Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh had bagged a sand mine.The government has also made sure that the bidders will have to upload the details of their bank accounts on the e-auction website of the government, after having all details attested by the bank of the bidder.In the May auctions, minister’s former employee Amit Bahadur was the successful bidder. But the money for bidding and for taking the mine was not transferred from his account. The money was reportedly transferred from the account of minister’s aides.The auction notice for November 27, put by the Directorate of Mining, Department of Industries, has deliberately kept the reserve price of all quarries lower than last time. The size of all 39 quarries to be auctioned off is much less.The highest reserve price is Rs6.28 crore for Tagarkalan quarry in Hoshiarpur district, while a majority of the quarries have a reserve price of less than Rs1 crore.Sources in the sand trade told The Tribune a major reason why the reserve price has been kept lower is that rates of sand and gravel have been falling.