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Govt flouting own mining rules with impunity
2/20/2018 11:39:53 PM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Early Times Report

Srinagar, Feb 20: Government has failed to adhere to the new mining rules that were framed in 2016 for preservation of environment and they have remained confined to files only.
As per the 'Minor Mineral Concession, Storage, Transportation of Minerals and Prevention of Illegal Mining Rules, 2016' framed by the Industries and Commerce Department J&K, each mineral concession holder in a cluster shall be responsible for implementation of the environment management plan. They will also be responsible for undertaking the phased restoration, reclamation and rehabilitation of land affected by mining operation.
However, official sources said that very little has been done to implement these rules. "Two years have passed since framing of new rules but there is very little adherence," an official said.
For any act of illegal and unauthorized mining, the officer concerned according to new rules shall lodge FIR against the person who commit such offences and all the tools, equipment, vehicles would be handover to the police for further course of action as per "Pecuniary penalty and punishment for the offence as provided under Section 21, 23 A and Section 23 B of the minerals Act 1957." The official said government has decided to penalise and file cases against frequent violators in the areas earmarked for mining. "It was decided not to allow any illegal mining and deal strictly. But very little is being followed," the official said and added that there have been reports of illegal mining in various districts of the state.
The official said that government had also decided to impose 10 per cent tax on royalty or contract money paid to the state.
Earlier, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had pointed out granting mining leases by Jammu and Kashmir government in protected areas in contravention of Supreme Court orders.
Under the new rules, no permission shall be granted to any mineral concession holder unless a mining plan approved under these rules is substituted and approved by the government. It says that leases shall be granted after following an open auction process after approval from the competent authority. "No minor mineral concession shall be granted on any land within a distance of 150 meters from the outer periphery of the defined limits of national highway, railway line or state highway where excavation doesn't require use of explosives," the new rules. These rules are mostly only on papers," the official added.
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