CPI (M), KCCI oppose mining contracts to non-locals

Greater Kashmir

While urging authorities to revoke the decision of allotting contracts for extraction of minerals from water bodies in J&K to non-locals, CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami Saturday said the move will hit livelihood of thousands of people.

In a statement, Tarigami said from contractors to sand diggers, labourers and transporters who were directly or indirectly associated with the extraction of minerals, will be in danger of losing their livelihood.

“Not only will it 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.

He urged upon the administration to bar non-locals from carrying with the extraction of minerals from the water bodies.

Meanwhile, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has also opposed the policy for allotment of mining and extraction contracts to non-locals.

In a statement, the KCCI described the policy as alarming and against public interest. “The lack of protective mechanisms in the policy has deprived thousands of families of their livelihood and exposed consumers to exploitation by a mining syndicate,” said the statement.

“Use of financial muscle power has totally wiped them out in Srinagar and reports from other districts are equally discouraging,” said the statement. “The auction bid for 15 blocks in Pulwama has jumped from previous Rs two crores to a whopping Rs 17.82 crores. There is no way the local contractors can compete.”

The statement said while the government may see increase in revenue as a positive sign, the consequential increase in material costs for consumers suggested it were the local consumers who have to pay the price.

The KCCI has demanded review of the policy to address local interests and incorporate protective clauses for local stakeholders and consumers.

The KCCI appealed to the Lt Governor that till the time a revised policy was announced in consultation with stakeholders, the authorities should be directed to put the new policy in abeyance.