JAMMU, JANUARY 14: Good governance not only means continuous monitoring and promulgation of stringent laws for bringing efficiency at every layer of administration but also bringing ease in availing services at door steps by people.
Among dozens of measures taken since the last 2 years, the department of Geology and Mining also has its share of reforms to streamline its functioning.
It not only brought respite to common masses but enhanced the revenue of government exponentially by taking plethora of measures towards transparency and healthy competition.
With the same objective of promoting healthy competition and transparency in allotment of minor mineral blocks, the Department of Mining, switched over from open auction to e-auctioning.
As revealed by the department it has so far successfully e-auctioned 384 minor mineral blocks during the last 02 years generating a record unprecedented revenue of around Rs 321 crores.
It says the revenue generation has seen a quantum jump of over 500% from previous years, wherein revenue realization was to the extent of around Rs 50 crores only. The department has e-auctioned a total of 384 minor mineral blocks and issued a Letter of Intent (LoI) to 374 allottees.
Moreover the department has also granted 133 mining leases, 08 leases to PSUs, 21 STPs, 03 Quarry Licenses and 03 private mining leases.
In order to ensure Ease of Doing Business the Mining Department has also dispensed with the requirement of License to start operation of stone crushers/ hot and wet mixing plants in the UT.
The requisite formalities for operation of unit have been restricted merely to gaining consent to operate from Pollution Control Board and NOC from Deputy Commissioner concerned with regard to the title of land and its usage.
Earlier the unit holder had to seek NoCs from a number of departments defeating the purpose of good governance. Further the department constituted single window clearance committee for clearance of projects.
A district level committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner concerned to clear cases without moving from office to office.
The Department, in another historic step declared the extraction of brick earth in an area up to 02 (two) hectares and up to a depth of 02 (two) meters for making bricks in brick kilns as non-mining activity. The move has ensured the exemption of the activity from the requirement of prior environmental clearance. This is surely going to help in raising quality infrastructure without any kind of obstacle at reasonable rates.
Another intervention by the department of Mining to make the process of securing mining leases user-friendly and rational by extending the time period for completing requisite formalities like submitting remaining 50% bid amount, approved mining plan and environmental clearance, consent to operate, etc from 06 months to one year.
To ensure the assured supply of raw materials to the Government agencies for the development of various prestigious projects of national importance in J&K, 13 minor mineral blocks have been reserved for Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) constructing these projects.
These PSUs are required to supply the material to public works only at a Government prescribed rates thereby keeping checks and balances with regard to the availability and rates vis-à-vis private players in the field.
The department has also in the recent past granted short term permits to the Principal Executing agencies of Indian Railways, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Airports Authority of India (AAI), IRCON, KRCL and NHIDCL to mitigate the scarcity of key construction material within the UT of J&K.
Towards empowerment of grassroots public institutions the PRIs were also made eligible for acquiring short term permits for mining of minor mineral blocks of areas upto 01 hectares.
The material so produced/procured can be utilized by the PRIs within their panchayats for undergoing developmental activities. The department has so far identified 70 minor mineral blocks for this purpose.
The department has also devised mining surveillance system and establishment of Hi-tech mineral check posts (CCTV Cameras) to control and monitor illegal extraction and transportation of minor minerals.
To safeguard the environment and compliance of NGT directions the department has made it obligatory that every lease of minor minerals shall be subjected to an independent Environmental Audit. Such an audit should be done at least once a year by a reputed third party entity and report of such audit be placed in public domain.
The mining lease holders are also responsible for re-grassing the mining area and any other area which may have been disturbed due to their mining activities and restore the land to a condition which is fit for growing fodder and nourishment of flora and fauna.
To make all these activities and services hassle-free the department has launched e-services portal for facilitating the applicants for grant of services like mineral dealer license, mining leases, short term/disposal permits etc.
These measures have brought much respite to all the stakeholders by saving both their time and energy while pursuing for these utilities.