Mining leases: Kashmir Admin advises conditional NOCs against dept objections

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The administration of Kashmir region has advised several of its departments to issue conditional No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for mining despite objections raised by these departments.

The objections had been raised for issuance of mining leases in nearly two dozen ‘minor mineral blocks’ in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district and south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

At a meeting last week, however, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang Pole
“advised” the department that “it will be better to issue conditional NOC”.

“Before culminating the meeting the chair informed that since the traditional mining is happening in all the blocks where NOC has not been issued and the steps taken in this regard by all the stake holding departments are a futile exercise in curbing this menace and advised the participants that it will be better to issue conditional NOC,” read the minutes of last Friday’s meeting, released by the DIvisional Commissioner’s office.

“… so that in-case of any violation the e-auctioned contractor can be held responsible and action as warranted can be initiated against him, otherwise, the loot of these resources cannot be stopped,” it read.

The objections over issuance of mining leases were raised in five minor mineral blocks in Baramulla and in 18 minor mineral blocks in Pulwama.

The departments which had raised the objections and denied NOCs included Jal Shakti Irrigation and Flood Control, Fisheries, Revenue, Wildlife, Geology and Mining, and Forest.

In blocks 1, 2 and 3 in Baramulla, the I&FC department had denied NOCs on the ground that these blocks cater to “number of irrigation as well as PHE schemes on both sides of the Nallah”.

The Divisional Commissioner, however, informed the meeting that the PHE department’s engineer had submitted “unscientific reply to the enquiries” and directed the official to “logical and scientific reasons in support of the grounds of the denial of the NOC”.

“Moreover, it was further directed that possibility shall be explored for issuance of conditional NOC,” the minutes read.

In blocks 1, 2 and 3 in Baramulla, the fisheries department had denied NOCs on the ground that these blocks will badly affect the feeding and breeding of the fish and will cause ecological disturbance.

“The chair directed that the fisheries department shall revisit the NOC and provide a logical/scientific basis for the denial of NOC, besides, shall explore the possibility of providing the conditional NOC,” the minutes further read.

In block 1 of Baramulla, the wildlife protection department denied NOC on the grounds that the block was “falling under eco-sensitive zones.”

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