Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on has called the policy adopted by Geology and mining department with regard to allotment of mining and extraction contracts unfair and urged the incumbent government to roll back the discriminatory policy.
This was said by Party youth leader Ahsan Pardesi, while expressing dismay over the wanton discrimination towards locals on account of on-line auctioning of mining and extraction to non-locals by the concerned department.
Pardesi said that earlier there would be no auction and the local laborers; skilled, unskilled would draw their humble sustenance from the trade. He said the vocation of mining and extracting sand from water bodies would help scores of families associated with the vocation eke out a humble living. “The locals have not been allowed to participate in the e-auctioning because of the clandestine manner in which the entire auctioning process was carried out by the concerned department. It goes without saying that the locals were purposely kept out from the e-auctioning process that was carried out at a time when the internet services were off. The people who are associated with the trade are in thousands and are underprivileged; most of them have no access to the internet, as such left a disadvantage to participate in the e-auctioning,” he said.
Pardesi further said the first claim on the resources of Jammu and Kashmir rightfully belongs to the natives of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the existing geology and mining policy is devoid of any protective mechanism to protect the livelihood of thousands of families, who he said have been exposed to exploitation by the mining syndicate. “The imprudent measure has affected scores of families from local contractors to sand diggers, labourers to transporters. A vital trade has been completely shut to locals,” he said.
Pardesi added that the loopholes in the existing mining policy have inadvertently hit the construction and housing sector. “The measures have snowballed and affected the housing sector as well. The fallout of having outsiders extract and mine local resources is also being felt in the housing sector which also provides employment to thousands of skilled labourers who are also facing the brunt. The skyrocketing prices of stones, gravel and aggregate has significantly affected the construction sector in the valley,” he added.
Pardesi impressed upon the government to put the new geology and mining policy in abeyance and continue with the previous process. Such a policy, he stated should have been left for the elected legislature to decide upon.