With scarcity hitting Punjab, Badal looks at unused sand

Chandigarh, June 25 (IANS) With Punjab facing scarcity and sky-high prices for sand in the past few months owing to a mining ban, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Tuesday asked various departments to properly utilize the material lying unused at various government construction sites.

Badal asked the Punjab Mandi Board, the Public Works Department (PWD) and the irrigation department to make optimum utilization of the 93.15 lakh tonnes GSB (Gravel Sand Boulder) lying unutilized at various sites.

Scarcity of sand and other construction material has hit the state following a ban imposed by the state government last year on sand mining from river beds and streams.

The price of the available sand has gone up by 10 times in certain cases and slowed down construction activity in the state. The projects affected include road construction and other public works.

At a meeting of all these departments with the chief minister here Tuesday, he was apprised that 88 lakh tonnes of GSB was stacked at the construction site of Ranjit Sagar Dam (RSD), four lakh at Handwal village in Hoshiarpur district and 1.15 lakh tonnes at Balachaur in Nawanshehar district.

Badal also directed the industries and commerce department to work out the modalities for making construction material readily available to the public at the affordable rates.

"The industries department has been given the mandate to formalize the technical and economic viability of the mining material from the entire state so that the overshooting prices of construction material get regulated and supply was made to all strata on the reasonable rates," a state government spokesman said.

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