AAP govt revises sand rate by reverting price cut effected by Channi
The Aam Aadmi Party government Thursday gave its nod to revise rates of sand to Rs 9 per cubic feet, nine months after former Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had slashed the prices for the construction essential to Rs 5.50 per cubic feet. The rates of sand at the pithead, before Channi had slashed the price, was Rs 9 per cubic feet.
The AAP government also fixed the maximum retail price of gravel at Rs 20 per cubic feet. The rates of sand and gravel have been revised by amending the Sand and Gravel Mining Policy. The amendment was approved in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
The Cabinet also approved a new policy for crusher units and decided to impose an environment charge of Rs 1 per cubic feet on output material, which will fetch Rs 225 crore to the state exchequer.
Addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Mines Minister Harjot Singh Bains said the rate of sand has been revised as the state government was losing revenue even as the common masses were not benefitting with the existing policy and rates.
“The previous government had taken a cosmetic measure by reducing the rate of sand from Rs 9 to Rs 5.50 per cubic feet. Nobody ever got sand at the rate of Rs 5.50 per cubic feet. When we checked the files, we found the state government’s royalty was reduced from Rs 2.40 to 70 paise. It was made to appear that the contractors were bearing the difference. However, the contractors’ share was not affected. Of the Rs 3.50 that was slashed, Rs 2.50 was of the state exchequer. The price of sand remained unaffected but the contractors benefitted by pocketing state’s share of royalty,” said Bains.
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