Chief Secretary reviews mining operations

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The Chief Secretary, Arun Kumar Mehta, today chaired a meeting to review mining activities towards ensuring availability of construction material at reasonable prices in Jammu and Kashmir.

Administrative Secretaries of departments of Mining, Forest, Ecology & Environment, besides Director, Ecology, Environment & Remote Sensing, Member Secretary, Pollution Control Board (PCB) and concerned officers participated in the meeting.

It was informed that currently 123 mines, including 40 dedicated blocks, are operational in the Union Territory and additional 168 mines have been given extension by the Mining Department to complete requisite formalities. Once all the mines are operationalized, the supply of minerals will be further augmented.

The Chief Secretary emphasized on the availability of various minor minerals at reasonable prices and directed the Mining Department to submit weekly reports in the matter.

Meanwhile, the Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu were directed to undertake market surveillance and ensure removal of unnecessary bottlenecks, if any, in ensuring availability of construction material at equitable rates across the districts. They were asked to analyze the difference in rates between districts and rationalize the same, besides ensuring notification of rates in consonance to the ground realities.

The Chief Secretary asked the Forest Department to expedite the process of issuance of environmental clearance in favour of the 168 mines and ensure its completion by November 2021.

Simultaneously, the Mining Department was asked to initiate cancellation proceedings against the successful bidders if they fail to apply for the statutory clearances within the stipulated time frame. It was also asked to hold a meeting with all the stakeholders and ensure hassle-free and time-bound issuance of requisite clearances.

Reviewing the rejections on account of wrong documentation, the Chief Secretary directed fixing of responsibility and strict disciplinary action against the defaulting issuing authority or the executing agencies as per the laid down norms—(KNO)

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