40 mineral blocks awarded to outsiders will render locals jobless: NC

Srinagar: National Conference on Tuesday expressed concern over allotment of sand mining and mineral extraction contracts to non-residents of J&K saying the measure will rob employment opportunities from our youth and affect livelihood of thousands of families.
In a statement Party’s Members of Parliament Muhammad Akbar Lone and Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi while expressing concern over the discriminatory measures said last year the rights for extraction of the minerals was exclusively reserved for local contractors.
“Due to the restrictions on the internet, the local contractors couldn’t participate in the on-line bidding process. From contractors to manual sand diggers, laborers to transporters, and scores of other mineral workers who are directly or indirectly associated with the extraction of minerals, all will be in peril because local contractors failed to bid for the contract as the internet was not available to them. Whatever little they earn to manage their household chores comes from the sand mining,” the duo said.
The Members of Parliament said the educated youth of J&K are already suffering due to shrinking employment opportunities aggravated by measures taken on August 5 last year. They said the domicile policy has added to the frustration of J&K youth on account of diminishing job avenues.
“All the 10 mineral blocks in river Jhelum in Srinagar have gone to outsiders, 26 sand mining contracts out of 38 mineral blocks have gone to outsiders in north Kashmir’s Baramulla, and of seven mineral blocks, four have been awarded to outsiders in the bidding process in central Kashmir’s Budgam district,,” they said.
“This is all what New Delhi has for Kashmir. Every single step of there is pushing hapless Kashmiri youth towards a chasm,” they said adding that there has been no let-up in New Delhi’s repugnance for rights of Kashmiri people especially the youth. “Leave aside the educated youth, the labourers are being robbed of their livelihood.
How will seizing people’s rights, job avenues and other constitutional rights help the situation to improve. The imprudent measures will aggravate the already alienated youth. It seems that the government is on a mission of disenfranchising Kashmir in every aspect. The measures give a picture of colonial-era discrimination and mortification,” they added.
The Members of parliament urged the government to put the new mining or extraction policy in abeyance and allow the locals to draw their sustenance from it. “The first claim on local resources rightfully belongs to local people,” they said.

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