Punjab government thought to have hit a jackpot Friday when its sand mining e-auction attracted bids worth Rs 700 crore for three sand clusters alone, but soon they were left in disappointment. The highest bidder who had bid Rs 600 crore for a single block wrote to the government a few hours later saying he bid the whopping amount by mistake.
Out of seven identified clusters, only three were put on auction. The government had expected a target of Rs 350 crore after auctioning seven blocks. But just three blocks promised an amount of Rs 700 crore when block 6 (Pathankot) witnessed the highest bid of a whopping Rs 600 crore against a reserve price of Rs 60.03 crore.
A few hours later, the bidder wrote a mail to the state government stating he had goofed up and filled the wrong amount. He has sought the government to cancel the bid. The government would take a call on it on Monday.
A functionary of the department said, “The bidder has written to us. We will hold a meeting on Monday and take a call on this. As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the bid could be cancelled and the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) refunded. But we do not know what are we going to do. The final decision would be taken on Monday,” the functionary said.
As per the rules, if the highest bidder does not meet with the requirement of depositing the security amount within the stipulated time, he is set to lose the EMD. In case of Pathankot block, the EMD was Rs 15 crore.
Block 2 (Nawanshahar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Barnala, Sangrur and Mansa) recorded the highest bid of Rs 60 crore against a reserved price of Rs 58.52 crore.
The block 3 cluster (Moga, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Bathinda, Faridkot), witnessed the highest bid of Rs 40.5 crore against a reserve price of Rs 40 crore.
Sources told the Indian Express that pooling took place for block 2 and block 3 clusters with bidders reaching a compromise and not letting the high bid go much higher than the reserve price.
In case of the Rs600crore-bid, if it is cancelled, the government would have only two blocks in operation. The block 5 had received only one bidder and the rules do not allow allotment to a single bidder.
The state has got EMD deposits for only four blocks including block 2 (Nawanshahar, Jalandhar, Barnala, Sangrur and Mansa), Block 3 ( Moga, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Bathinda, Faridkot), block 5 ( Kapurthala, Amritsar and Tarn Taran) and block 6 (Pathankot). It has received two EMDs each for block 2 and 3, and one and five bidders for block 5 and 6 respectively.
There are no takers for block-1 (Ropar), block-3, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur), and block-7 (Mohali and Patiala).
The reserve price for block 6 (Pathankot) is maximum at Rs 60 crore and block 4 (Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur) is minimum at Rs 32 crore. The reserve price for Block 1 is at Rs 55.04 crore, block 2 at Rs 58.52 crore, block 3 at Rs 40 crore, block 5 at Rs 34.1 crore, and block 7 at Rs 39.47 crore.