Members of the Ludhiana Builders Association have complained to the government that the states building industry is in the grips of a very active mining mafia. Construction material like sand,bricks and crusher have suddenly experienced an artificial hike in prices since March 31,when the state failed to procure environment clearances for several sand quarries,due to which mining in them was banned by the Supreme Court as well as the High Court.
Ludhiana Builders Association Press Secretary Ajit Singh said,The same condition exists for brick kiln owners who have closed their kilns,protesting that environment clearance of kilns with less than 5 hectare land should be withdrawn by the court. But the common man is suffering because of this. The cost of projects has almost doubled. Members of the Association point out that there is no shortage of raw material available illegally,but at almost double the normal rates.
On one hand there is a ban on mining and cases are being booked against the violateors,but when we ask for raw material,it is readily available. The only condition is – material will be sent at night and at more than double the prices. So there is no shortage of material,but black marketing is rampant, said H.S Virdi,president of the association.
The price of crusher,which used to range between Rs 18 and 20 per cubic feet (CFT) about two months back,is now in the range of Rs 35-40 per CFT while the rate of coarse sand has also gone up to 100% higher from its previous rate of Rs 16-17 per CFT,S.S Mavi,patron of the association,said.
The same has been with the white sand whose cost has increased from Rs 9 per CFT to Rs 20 per CFT in just 2 months while the rate of bricks has also risen from Rs 3500 per 1000 to Rs 4500 per 1000,while in many areas it is upto 5500 per 1000 as well, he aded.
In the last 2 months,about 280 crushers have closed down in Punjab. Major development projects going on in the state are proceeding at snails pace because of the hike in prices of raw material,the builders said. The hot mix plant association has already gone on strike following the steep hike in prices of crusher,and now builders have also said that they will be on a one day strike on July 9.
The association has urged the Punjab government to form a regulatory committee to monitor the prices of the raw materials.
Stone-crusher engaged in illegal mining raided
MUKERIAN: A stone crushing unit engaged in illegal mining in Gohda-Waziran village near Hajipur was raided in the early hours of Monday by a team led by ADC (General),Hoshiarpur and SDM,Mukerian. Around a dozen persons,including the owner were booked.
The team was led by ADC (General),BS Dhaliwal and SDM,and accompanied by a special 8-member police team from Police Station Dasuya. Dhaliwal said that around a dozen persons were arrested,including Satnam Singh Kahlon,the owner of the unit,six drivers of truck-tippers that were parked there for ferrying crushed stone,one coordinator of drivers and a few workers. The arrested persons have been booked under Section 21 of the General Minor Minerals Act,1957 and relevant sections of IPC at PS Hajipur.
DC Hoshiarpur,Dipinder Singh,said that the authorities have been keeping a strict watch to ensure that no mining in contravention to government policy takes place in Hoshiarpur district.