Srinagar: For the first time, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has done away with the requirement of a license for setting up stone crushers and hot/wet mixing plants, but where is the raw material which would be required for bringing them to life, ask stakeholders in Kashmir.
In many areas of Kashmir valley, mining of stones and sand required for making gravel, cement, and other construction material is still not allowed. This leaves even the existing stone crushers and mixing plants without raw material.
Ghulam Jeelani Purza, the head of the construction contractors’ body in JK, and also an owner of a mixing plant, told Kashmir Reader that the new policy of doing away with licenses is a welcome step, but there is still no clarity on where the raw material will come from.
“The existing plants are idle due to lack of raw material. The government should have first done something for removing the restrictions on the procurement of raw material. Until that is done, this new policy will make no difference,” Purza said.
Javaid Mir, ex-president of the Chamber of Stone Crushers Lasgan, a body of over 200 crushers in Srinagar, echoed Purza. He said that there is an acute need of raw material, which is unavailable as of now.
“Due to this situation, we gather it through other means at rates higher than those set by the government. We request the government to please make the raw material accessible,” he said.
Javaid said the decision to scrap requirement of licenses will allow propping up of new units in less time, which will make the market more competitive, but it can also lead to monopolies.
“As a unit (stone crusher) holder, it will definitely affect my business. But for the overall trade, it can lead to monopolisation. A person who sells raw material will now able to set up his own units, making profit in two ways, while at the same time being able to decide the rates,” he said.
Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Commissioner-Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department, told Kashmir Reader that there are about 70 mining sites from where the material can be fetched. For about 370 more, he said, the process of identification of mining sites is on and will be completed soon.
“There are issues with some spots but they are due to pending environmental clearance, which is not in our hands,” he said.
Commenting on the new policy of doing away with licenses, he said, “Look, the aim was to speedily let the units supply the material for quick completion of projects. This aim will be achieved.”