Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann announced on Sunday that 16 public sand mines would open in seven districts of the state. This was done so that people could get cheap sand and gravel.
Mann opened one of these public sand mines in Ludhiana at Gorsian Khan Mohammad.
The state’s chief minister said that the government had kept another election promise by “eliminating the sand mafia, which used to flex its muscles…”
Mann said that the sand will be sold at public mining sites for only Rs 5.50 per cubic foot. He said that in the next month, there will be 50 more sites like these.
He said that digging sand by hand will be allowed at these public mining sites, but that digging sand by machine will not be allowed.
The chief minister also said that no mining contractor will be allowed to work in these public mining sites, and that the sand from these sites will only be sold for use in building projects that are not for profit.
He also said that sand will only be sold until sunset, and that there will always be a government official at each site to make sure it is done right.
Mann said that the state government has made a mobile app work that will tell people about public mining sites and make it easier for them to pay online.
He said that 16 mines were given to the people on Saturday and that 50 more will be working across the state by the end of the month.
Mann said that the app will be linked to Google Maps and help users find the closest public mine. He also said that it will help the rural economy because a lot of young people and labourers will work on it, which will lead to higher wages.