Revoke decision of giving extraction of minerals to non-locals: CPI (M)

SRINAGAR: While urging the authorities to revoke the decision of giving the majority of contracts for the extraction of minerals from the water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir to non-locals, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami Saturday said that livelihood of thousands of people in the region will be affected, if the government goes ahead with its decision.

Tarigami in a statement said, “From contractors to sand diggers, labourers and transporters who are directly or indirectly associated with the extraction of minerals will be in danger of losing their livelihood. Some of them, especially sand diggers have been involved in these activities for decades.”

“Till last year, the rights for extraction of the minerals were exclusively reserved with local contractors and most of them along with sand diggers associated with the extraction live on the river banks,” said Tarigami.

“However, this time, non-local contractors have bagged a majority of the mineral block in every district where the bidding has been completed so far. With the bidding process being held online, locals were left at a disadvantage as high-speed Internet connectivity remains restricted in Kashmir after the Centre revoked Article 370 last August,” he said.

He said that not only will result in unemployment to those involved in the job, but will also allow large scale exploitation of the mineral resources from the water bodies which has led to concerns about the impact on the environment.

“In 2016, J&K Government had issued SRO-105 making the rules for regulating the grant of various forms of minor mineral and storage and transportation of minerals and prevention of illegal mining in the region,” he said.

“The SRO-105 was issued by the then Government after I raised the issue in the Assembly after some outside contractors had been given the contracts for the extraction of minerals from the water bodies in J&K under J&K Industrial Policy-2016,” he added.

Tarigami in a statement said that in the Assembly parties cutting across the political spectrum supported this demand and a House Committee was constituted which categorically recommended putting an end to giving contracts to outsiders. Accordingly, the Government issued SRO-105 in compliance with the directions of the House Committee.

CPI (M) urges upon J&K administration to bar non-locals from carrying with the extraction of minerals from the water bodies.

“Only locals of J&K must be allowed to carry on with the extraction activities like previous years as it can safeguard the livelihood of thousands of people associated with it,” said Tarigami in a statement.

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