Mining industry stares at losses as Himachal sand, gravel enter Punjab - ECAS Punjab

Mining industry stares at losses as Himachal sand, gravel enter Punjab

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Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, November 20

Sand and gravel-laden trucks, tippers and tractor-trailers from the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh (HP) are illegally entering Punjab every day following which the local mining industry, comprising 170 odd crushers, is staring at massive revenue losses.

The vehicles enter the city from Majra, Tibri Bari Khad, Khandwal and Kandrori villages in HP. Vipan Mahajan, president, Pathankot Crushers' Association, said on a conservative estimate, 100-130 vehicles enter the city daily. This was corroborated by senior officials. The development is playing havoc with the local crushing industry.

"We sell a large sand-laden tipper at anything between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000 while the HP miners sell the same at Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000. Likewise, we sell a large truck of sand at Rs 22,000-Rs 24000 while those arriving from HP are sold at Rs 14,000-Rs 16,000. People will obviously purchase sand available at lesser rates," said Mahajan.

Mining Officer Gagandeep Singh said he had recently brought this illegal activity to the notice of the Nurpur police station in HP. "The Nurpur police registered a few FIRs against erring HP miners. However, after a brief lull, the activity has again picked up. The entire Pathankot crushing industry is going in losses just because people from HP are undercutting prices. A solution to the problem is to form a joint team of the Pathankot and Kangra police which can look into the infringements," he said. Owners of vehicles from HP claimed they have valid documentation to sell their produce in Punjab. However, this was countered by Gagandeep Singh, who claimed that only a miniscule percentage of the total number of vehicles coming into the city had valid papers while the others simply meandered their way into Punjab.

Teams formed to check menace: SSP

SSP Gulneet Singh Khurana said he was apprised of the unauthorised trade and was working on ways to stop it. "Joint teams of the Mining Department and police have been formed to check the menace," he said



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