To check illegal mining, the State Government has decided to go for open auction of all the quarries along river bed, government land and forest land through open auction. This was decided in a meeting of the senior officers of the Industries Department presided by Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri here today.

Agnihotri said to begin with the Government has decided to auction 30 mines in Una district and this would be followed by auction of quarries in Hamirpur and Kangra district. He said that Mining Plans were being prepared in a phased manner for other parts of the State. He said that lease would be valid for 20 years so that right-holders could derive maximum benefit from the quarries. He said that this would also provide the right to the lease-holder to ensure scientifically mining on his land.

Industries Minister said that up to three hectare land available for mining would be reserved for Himachalis. He said that for this only individual Himachali or a co-operative society of Himachalis would be eligible. He said that this would not only provide them gainful employment but this would discourage illegal mining as their own interest would be involved in it. He said that all the old quarries after terminating of their lease period would be auctioned through open auction only.

Agnihotri said that the lessees would be eligible to use their mineral resources in their open market or in their own crashers, but they would not be allowed to sell it to other crushers. He said that this endeavour of the State Government would help in bringing down prices of sand and grit, besides ensuring people’s participation in checking illegal mining.

Principal Secretary Finance Dr Shrikant Baldi, Principal Secretary Industries R.D. Dhiman, Director Industries Rajinder Singh, State Geologist Inderesh Dhiman and other senior officers attended the meeting.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.