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Web Exclusive | July 2013

E-auction of minor minerals challenged in court

In a petition filed with the Punjab and Haryana high court, a Chandigarh resident challenged the e-auction of 115 minor mineral (sand or gravel) quarries in 19 districts of Punjab.

The court was informed that the highest bidder had to himself obtain approval of the environment management plan from the district-level committee.

Following this, the court stayed the e-auction and posted the case for next hearing on July 15. It also directed the state government as well as the centre to file detailed replies. The court also asked the counsel to reply as to what was the problem if the state government took environment clearance.

The e-auction had been challenged on the ground that now the highest bidder has been compelled by the state government to seek prior environment clearance for mining operations. Earlier, the state government used to take such clearance from the union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).

The state was to hold the e-auction of minor mineral quarries from July 1 to 3 as per the auction notice issued on June 14.

When the case came up for hearing on Monday, the state government counsel informed the court that the authorities had decided to postpone the e-auction to July 9-11.

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