Apni Party Demands Roll Back Of Existing Geology And Mining Policy

SRINAGAR: Apni Party provincial President Mohammad Ashraf Mir on Friday reiterated his Party’s demand for rollback of existing geology and mining policy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Apni party leader Muammad Ashraf Mir along with other leaders addressing a press conference in Srinagar. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Addressing a press conference at the Party office in Lal Chowk Srinagar, Mir said that in order to get rid of the existing anti-people minor-mineral policy, Apni Party has decided to stage peaceful protest demonstrations at the district headquarters across Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday (March 27, 2021).

Highlighting the lacunas in the existing mining policy, Mir said it is because of the present policy that there is an acute shortage of construction material in Jammu and Kashmir. “The shortage and illegal mining has not only led to skyrocketing prices of construction material like sand, stones, gravel, aggregate etc but it has significantly halted the construction works including the government’s prestigious developmental projects,” he added.

Apni Party Provincial President said that earlier there would be no e-auction of minor mineral blocks in J&K and lakhs of families associated with the mining sector would sustain their livelihood since ages. “Now the non-residents of J&K have been allowed to participate in the e-auctioning process which was carried out in a clandestine manner. It seems the locals associated with this sector were kept out of e-auction that was done at a time when the internet services were shut in J&K,” he added.

He said that not only prices of raw material have skyrocketed, but the livelihood of lakhs of families was severely affected. “Extraction of sand, gravel, boulder stones etc. is halted. Similarly, elementary rights of residents of J&K have been compromised. Business of Quarry Owners, Crusher Owners, Tipper Owners, Tractor Owners, Hot-Mix & Wet-Mix Plant Owners, Drivers, Masons and other concerned people has been jeopardized. This way the existing mining policy has tremendously added to the unemployment scale in J&K,” Mir remarked.

He said that as demanded by the Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, the families associated with the mining sector want a revised and comprehensive mining policy that will ensure the inherent rights of the natives on their natural resources. “The new policy should ensure employment for skilled and unskilled youth of J&K. It should also regulate market prices of construction material. The new policy should ensure hassle-free developmental work and it should end discrimination with residents of J&K,” he demanded.

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