In mineral-rich state, JKML proves white elephant for 3 consecutive yrs

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir has not only failed to tap the abundant mineral resources found in the state but the government-run J&K Minerals Limited (JKML) has shown sharp decline in annual mineral extraction in the last three years, incurring huge loss to the exchequer.
JKML, which was set up in 1960 to establish mineral-based industries in the state by exploiting mineral resources including coal, sapphire, limestone, marbel, gypsum, magnasite and lignite. But with dried up coffers the corporation is at the moment operating only three projects—extracting coal at Kalakote mines in Rajouri, gypsum at Assar, Doda and Parlanka, Ramban, and sapphire at Padder, Kishtwar.
And in the last three years, the corporation has shown steep decline in extraction of minerals from these three projects, leading to heavy revenue losses.
According to official figures, the extraction of coal has declined from 19,366.600 metric tons in 2011 to 10881.400 metric tons in 2013 as against the target of 20,000 metric tons. The revenue generated by the corporation in coal extraction has decreased from Rs 1021.18 lakh in 2011 to Rs 510.08 lakh in 2013.
According to Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL), Government of India, there are huge reservoirs of good quality coal around Kalakote area which require deep drilling for commercial exploitation, and the project requires an investment of just Rs 20 crore. But given the financial constraints, the project can’t be pursued further.
Also against the target of 50000 metric tons of gypsum envisaged for the year 2013, the corporation has extracted 19160.75 metric tons by the end of the year, while the revenue realization has gone down from Rs 315 crore in 2012 to Rs 165 crore in 2013.
The corporation has also shown steep decline in annual sapphire recoveries with 8820 grams in 2011 to 4520 grams in 2012 to 2212 grams in 2013. The corporation had collected Rs 82.29 lakh by auctioning 5799 grams of sapphire in 2011 and Rs 43.28 lakh in 2012 by auctioning 4281 grams of extracted sapphire, while no auctioning was done last year.
In the last autumn session of the Legislative Assembly, Minister for Industries and Commerce, Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo said that the public sector bodies in the state have incurred a huge loss of Rs 300 crore during last three years with JKML topping the list with the cumulative loss of Rs 247.78 crore.
Kitchloo said that in 2010-11, JKML recorded a loss of Rs 77. 42 crore; in 2011-12 the losses went up to Rs 84.78 crore; and in 2012-13 the loss was recorded at Rs 85.57 crore.
The government figures put the total number of employees in the JKML at 1089 in 2010-11, 896 in 2011-12 and 875 in 2012-13.
According to the Economic Survey Report, the closing of unviable units, downsizing of staff under Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and Golden Handshake Scheme (GHS) coupled with budgetary support from the state government enabled the Corporation to earn revenue of Rs 12.12 crore through sale of coal, gypsum and sapphire during 2012, while the expenditure for the year amounted to Rs 14.79 crore.
“The excess expenditure during the year has been met out of advance sale and financial assistance received from state government during the year,” said the report.