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Chandigarh: Punjab Mining and Geology Minister S. Chetan Singh Jauramajra, on Wednesday, held urgent meetings with crusher owners, mining contractors and brick kiln owners of the state to ensure the availability of affordable sand and gravel for the people, stop illegal mining activities and ensure proper disposal of paddy stubble to promote a pollution-free state.

During the meetings at Punjab Bhawan, the Cabinet Minister reiterated the commitment of Chief Minister S. Bhagwant Singh Mann-led government to making the state pollution-free and maintaining transparency and ethical practices in the mining sector. Therefore, the minister urged brick-kiln and crusher owners and mining contractors to fully support the government in this pro-people initiative.

The Cabinet Minister, highlighting the significant issue of paddy stubble in the state, urged brick-kiln owners for incorporating a minimum of 20 percent stubble usage in their kilns as part of initiatives aimed at making the state pollution-free. He also announced an upcoming meeting involving stakeholder departments such as Punjab Pollution Control Board, Environment Department and brick-kiln owners to initiate actions in this direction.

S. Chetan Singh Jauramajra assured the brick-kiln owners that their demand for permission of digging soil up to 2 hectares would be sympathetically considered and a decision on fulfilling this long-standing demand will be made soon.

During the meeting with the mining contractors, the Mining and Geology Minister asked them to work in a transparent and clean manner, acknowledging the contractors' compliance with legal guidelines and assured them of full administrative support. Highlighting the government's crackdown on illegal mining, he expressed confidence that this drive is definitely benefiting legally operating contractors. In response to the contractors' demand to use pokalen machines for mining, the minister assured them to consider their demand with empathy.

Similarly, during the meeting with the crusher owners, the Cabinet Minister attentively listened to their concerns and assured them that the government will look into the policies of other states to ensure affordable sand and gravel for the public and promote the crusher business. Regarding the owners' demand for mining site leases, the Cabinet Minister promised to review the matter and make a timely and appropriate decision.

Notably, in meeting with officials of the Mining and Geology department yesterday, S. Chetan Singh Jauramajra emphasized that in line with Chief Minister S. Bhagwant Singh Mann's vision, there is a need to strategize and increase mineral extraction to ensure the availability of sand and gravel at affordable rates for the state's residents while addressing the issue of illegal mining. The cabinet minister underscored the need for enhancing material extraction by initiating operations at all mining sites and including more possible sites in District Survey Reports. He said that this step would increase the availability of sand in the market. While this will help in reducing the market prices, it will also curb illegal mining.

The Cabinet Minister also warned all DMOs of the paramount importance of conducting their duties with utmost honesty and integrity, and made it unequivocally clear that any office found engaging in illegal activities will face severe consequences.

Prominent amongst others who were present in the meetings included Sh. Abhijeet Kaplish, Director of Mines & Geology and S. Hardeep Singh Mendiratta, Chief Engineer (Mining) other Officers.



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