Chandigarh, Apr 10 (PTI) Punjab will rope in IIT Kanpur, Roorkee, Delhi and Kharagpur to assess demand of sand and its availability in rivers as per Union Environment Ministry guidelines, as part of the state government’s efforts to plug revenue leakage by curbing illegal mining in the state.

During a cabinet sub-committee meeting on mining chaired by state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for framing of a new mining policy in the state to boost revenue from the sector, it was proposed that sand would be made available to consumers at a fixed rate.

A third party customer feedback audit of availability, quality, quantity and rates of sand will also be conducted, the minister said.

“District survey reports will be prepared by IIT Kanpur, Roorkee, Delhi and Kharagpur, and the remote sensing department for assessing availability of river sand as per MoEF guidelines,” he told reporters.

Asserting that mining activity would be conducted in a transparent manner, Sidhu said these institutes would also be entrusted with the task of assessing the demand of sand in the state.

Among the measures for curbing illegal mining activities, the cabinet sub-committee proposed that trucks carrying sand would be have a specific colour for identification.

“GPS and radio frequency ID system will be also installed in trucks carrying sand from rivers to the stockyards,” Sindu said, adding such steps would help in curbing “transportation mafia”.

There would be facility for online booking of sand by individuals, panchyats, local bodies and government departments. In the meeting it was also proposed that digging beyond three metres in a quarry would not be allowed.

“Demand and supply will also be monitored,” the minister said.

Punjab is in the process of coming out with a new mining policy to boost revenue from this sector. The cabinet sub-committee will submit the final draft of the new policy on April 21.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.