Geology & Mining dept decides to prepare policy document to revive sand mining

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Srinagar, Jun 19: After the denial of Environment Clearance (EC) by the Jammu and Kashmir Environment Impact Assessment Authority (JKEIAA) the authorities have decided to prepare a policy document to revive traditional sand mining identifying rightful beneficiaries and send it to the Government of India (GOI) for consideration.

According to the minutes of minutes chaired by Manoj Kumar Dwivedi Commissioner/Secretary, Department of Mining a copy of which lies with news agency reads that the JKEIAA has declined EC for minor mineral blocks located in river Jhelum on some technical observations, it was discussed and decided to proceed to invoke the clause (AXi) of the e-auction document to cancel the e-auction process and refund the 50 percent bid amount to the successful bidders of these blocks.

“To prepare a policy document in order to revive the traditional/customary sand mining identifying the rightful beneficiaries in consultation with I&FC Department. The proposal once finalised shall be forwarded to GOI for consideration,” the minutes of the meeting reads.

The document states that JKEIM has expressed reservations for in-stream mining and as such are reluctant to grant Environmental Clearances (EC) to 58 e-auctioned minor mineral blocks falling in river Jhelum.

“The delay in execution of sand blocks of River Jhelum has created a large gap in demand and supply which is affecting the livelihood of thousands of people traditionally associated with the profession of sand extraction leading to an increase in the incidents of illegal mining, besides hampering the progress of important infrastructure development projects,” it said.

The document reads that the meeting was informed that 98 blocks have been granted EC, out of which 64 leases are operational.

“In addition to this public hearing has been conducted for 34 blocks,” the documents said.

The documents said that the chair stressed for more concentrated efforts to clear the cases for EC and fixed the target of 120 ECs and 106 operational mines at the end of this month with special emphasis on Kashmir province as only 14 mining leases of minor mineral blocks have been granted in Kashmir to date.

“The Department should expedite and facilitate in securing the necessary Clearances i.e., NOCs and EC for such ancestrally occupied quarries so that quarry license is granted in their favour in order to regulate the extraction of building material and address the grievances of erstwhile quarry holders,” it said.

The meeting as per document emphasized on early completion and execution of Mine Surveillance System (MSS) for proper monitoring of the mining leases and curbing the illegal mining was emphasised.

“Besides the proposal for GPS tracking of vehicles involved in the transportation of minerals shall also be prepared,” the document reads.

About illegal mining the document reads that necessary action as warranted under rules be taken against unauthorized persons extracting minor minerals from the area adjacent to the e-auctioned minor mineral blocks including the filing of FIRs. Any laxity in the matter on part of the concerned SHO shall be viewed seriously.

“All SSPs shall ensure that the illegal mining does not take place in the areas of their jurisdiction other than e-auctioned minor mineral blocks specifically after issuance of Mining Leases/ completion of other formalities thereof,” the document reads

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