The Punjab government has decided to go ahead with e-auctioning of sand clusters in four blocks for which it has received nine bidders. This even as it failed to attract any bidders for other three mining blocks in the state.
The e-auction would take place from 11 am to 1 pm on Friday. A government functionary said the department decided to go ahead with the auction of blocks for which interested bidders had deposited Earnest Money Deposit (EMD). He said the government would invite bids for the rest three blocks at a later stage.
“We are already late. We cannot keep postponing the entire process. We have nine bidders depositing money for mines in four blocks. We will go ahead with that,” said the functionary.
The government had earlier postponed e-auction scheduled for July 1 to July 5. It decided not to postpone the entire auction but to hold the auction for rest of the clusters later.
This would be the first auction of sand clusters after 2017, when the state auctioned its mines earlier. During the last fiscal year it could not auction any mine, earlier for want of formulating a policy and then the policy was challenged in the High Court.
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 rore, Block 2 at Rs 58.52 crore, Block 3 at Rs 40 crore, Block 5 at Rs 34.1 crore, and that of Block 7 at Rs 39.47 crore.
Dispelling the concerns that the lack of enthusiasm among bidders would lead to reduced competition and thereby affecting the high bids, the functionary said the reserve price was quite high. “Even if we do not get very high bids, we should be able to meet our target which is at Rs 350 crore for the fiscal year.”