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Govt. agrees to JKAP demand on G&M activities in J&K

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The Chief Secretary, B.V.R Subrahmanyam on Wednesday chaired a meeting to take stock of issues being faced in mining of construction material.

Sources said that the chief secretary called for synergy and coordination between various stakeholders including Geology and Mining Department, State Environment Authority, Pollution Control Board, Public Sector Undertakings and lease holders of mining blocks.

Administrative Secretaries of departments of Industries & Commerce, Forest, Ecology & Environment and Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, along with HoDs of Geology & Mining, Ecology, Environment & Remote Sensing and Pollution Control Board, were present in the meeting.

The Chief Secretary urged Commissioner/ Secretary Industries to examine and submit a proposal regarding possible devolution of mining rights to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) on land under their jurisdiction through short term permits. The decision is aimed at empowering PRIs to raise funds through mining surpluses and address shortage of key construction material in the local market, besides keeping a check on their prices.

It was also recommended that the framework for extraction procedure under local self-governance mechanism, along-with sharing of revenue between Geology & Mining Department and PRIs may also be worked out.

Further, Administrative Secretary, Industries & Commerce, was asked to identify 100 locations where PRIs could be given rights for STPs and the department can apply for various permits and clearances on behalf of PRIs, besides providing them logistic support on a pilot basis.

Moreover, the department was instructed to expedite approval of mining plans in all e-auctioned blocks by 20th July, 2020. The Ecology & Environment Department and Pollution Control Board were directed to expedite clearances within the rules.

Similarly, Geology & Mining Department was instructed to forward mining projects of 2nd phase auction for environmental clearance by 31st July, 2020.

The Chief Secretary urged the Industries Department to consider streamlining of mining auctions to stabilize sale prices of minor minerals by developing a long term price fixation mechanism.

Regarding simplification of process of obtaining environmental clearances, Chief Secretary directed Administrative Secretary, Forest to examine the matter and revisit the checklist of required documentation and keep it to the minimum required by law.

Pertinently, the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) had recently urged the government to allow extraction and lifting of minor minerals on Short Term Permit basis in urban areas in both divisions of Jammu and Kashmir.

The party president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari had also demanded that the Panchayat institutions in J&K which are already authorized Panchayat Raj Act be allowed to permit the locals including contractors and other stakeholders to extract and lift the raw material.

Sources in the government said that the demands put forth by the party were accorded a positive consideration by the LG led government in J&K and today’s meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary was convened to discuss this issue accordingly. (KNS)

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