The Congress and the BJP clashed in the Chhattisgarh Assembly on Friday over illegal sand mining and the escalation of prices of raw materials in the construction sector.
The issue was raised through a call attention motion by opposition members, including including Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) MLA Dharamjeet Singh and senior BJP MLA Brijmohan Agrawal.
They alleged the Bhupesh Baghel government was unable to curb illegal sand mining which had resulted in sharp rise in prices of raw materials, in the process severely affecting the infrastructure sector in the state.
They said the auctioning of 850 sand mines in 15 districts was only on paper, and alleged the state was losing revenue due to operations of the sand mafia.
Illegal sand mining is being reported from Raipur, Bilaspur, Mahasamund, Dhatari, Janjgir-Champa, Korba and several other districts, the opposition MLAs contended.
The price of sand had escalated to Rs 14000-15000 per truck due to supply being controlled by the sand mafia, they claimed.
Countering the charges, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said according to the new sand mining rules announced in August this year, notification inviting tender (NIT) has been released for 247 sand mines in 27 districts till November 23 this year.
Of these, tenders for 183 have been opened, and transport permit (TP) for 65 of them have been issued after advance royalty was received from the concerned miners, Baghel said.
"Besides, process of acquiring environment clearance for 60 more mines is underway. Production in a total of 125 sand mines will start soon," he said.
Baghel said mining, revenue and police personnel have been taking action to prevent illegal sand mining and its transportation across the state.
Till October this year, 3,203 cases of illegal mining and transportation were registered and fines of Rs 3.98 crore were recovered, the CM said.
Refuting reports of rise in sand prices, Baghel said the rates depend on the distance of the work from the mines.
After the introduction of new sand mining rules, the state is expected to receive a revenue of Rs 250 crore in sand mining through royalty, auctioning charge and other means, he added.
Mining plan and environment clearance have been made mandatory for sand mining as per the new rules, he said.
Baghel said strict action will be taken against those who will be involved in illegal sand mining.
Unsatisfied with his reply, BJP MLAs staged a walk out from the House.
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