Govt Earns Mere Rs 4 Cr from Sale of Kishtwar Sapphire in Last 8 Years

   

Asif Iqbal Naik

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SRINAGAR

A KL file Image of Kashmir Sapphire
A KL file Image of Kashmir Sapphire

The government of Jammu and Kashmir Saturday stated that it has earned only Rs 4.2088 Crore in last 8 years on account of sale and extraction of blue Sapphire and other gems from world famous Sapphire mines of Padder in Kishtwar district.

In a written reply to CQ No 249 of Congress MLC from Doda Sham Lal Baghat, Minister In charge Industries and Commerce stated that the lease of corundum and other gem stones situated at Sumcham, Padder in Kishtwar District has been granted to J&K Minerals Limited.

As per reply the government has earned Rs 131.97 Lakh in 2007-08 through auction that took place on 11/12-03-2008; Rs 74.70 Lakh in 2009-10; Rs 47.22 Lakh in 2011-12; Rs 43.28 Lakh in 2012-13 and Rs 88.62 Lakh in 2015-16 which amounts to Rs 420.88 Lakh in last 8 years which is far less as compared to the availability of the Sapphire deposits in the area.

The government further stated that the Geology and Mining Department has received Royalty/Dead rent on extraction of Neelam (Sapphire) in Chenab Valley on an average of Rs 414287 per year.

It is pertinent to mention that world famous Sapphire mines of Kishtwar are vulnerable to open theft from Sapphire smugglers who smuggled this precious stone to different parts of world.

Situated at an altitude of over 14500 feet above sea level, Kishtwar Sapphire are covered with lofty and snowy mountains from Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh and the Sapphire smugglers with the help of some locals visited these mines due to non-availability of security at these mines transported it to different markets of the world.

In past, JKP in Kishtwar have arrested several local and outsiders with Sapphire but it requires more efforts from the government to prevent these Sapphire mines from smugglers, beside some concrete steps to explore the Sapphire mines having billions of dollars of Sapphire reserves.

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