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New Mining Policy of J&K helps to secure 300 crore annual revenue via e-auctioning

The Department of Geology and Mining in Jammu and Kashmir switched to e-auctioning process for leasing and renting of mineral blocks in the region due to which even non-local contractors became eligible to participate in the online bidding. Earlier, open auctioning was done in which only local contractors used to participate due to the special status enjoyed by the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The new order was issued in this regard by the concerned Department in September 2019 whereas the process began in early 2020.This change in the policy led to increase in the competition which meant more revenue for Jammu and Kashmir and replacement of old process by a new transparent one for the allotment of mineral blocks in accordance with Court order.

Jammu and Kashmir High Court ruled that e-auctions are most transparent thereby enabling maximisation of the public interest and national priorities. The new policy was made in accordance with environment clearance whereas earlier Rule 104A enabled mining activity to be undertaken by the highest bidders without environmental clearance which was ultra vires the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

The court clearly stated that bidders will have to obtain approval of the mining plan and environment clearance in accordance with rule 26 (2) of the rules of 2016.

Jammu Links News talked to Vikas Sharma, Director Geology and Mining Department Jammu and Kashmir regarding the implementation of new mining policy to which he said that the Department has successfully auctioned 350 mineral blocks until now thereby securing almost 300 crore annual revenue. He further added that each district has its own committee headed by District Commissioner which notifies the public regarding the bidding process through newspapers following which bidders apply and then after technical evaluation and selecting the highest price bid, the proposal is forwarded to Director who scrutinises and then issues the letter of intent to the bidder. Afterwards, almost 6 months' time is given to the bidder for the submission of mining plan along with environmental clearance and consent by the pollution Control Board and then lease is issued which stays operational for 5 years.

He also told that the total revenue generation was almost 50 crores previously and in comparison, to this year's profit, it can be clearly deduced that the profit skyrocketed after the adoption of new mineral policy in Jammu in Kashmir.

When asked about the shortage of construction material available in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, "The mining in the erstwhile state was banned due to certain hiccups which led to the shortage in the availability of construction materials but now with adoption of new policy, the demands of the people would be easily met."

Commenting on the sand mafia operating in Jammu and Kashmir, he said that district level committees have been set up to tackle with this menace. And SSPs acts as the members of the committee which controls the district task force responsible for assistance in regulating mining activities in the area.

Director, Director Geology and Mining Department Jammu and Kashmir assured that the new mining policy is a great step towards setting up the foundation of transparent functioning system in the union territory.


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Hardeep Bali