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J&K’s Mineral Wealth

Natural resources exist for use by the people for genuine purposes and within genuine limits
12:21 AM Jan 23, 2024 IST | MOHAMMAD JALAL-UD-DIN
j k’s mineral wealth
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Reports regarding illegal extraction and transportation of mineral wealth continue to pour in. The seized material represents sand, stones extracted from nallahs, river beds, and the stone quarries.

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Nature has bestowed its resources everywhere by way of mines & mountains, seas & seasons, fruits & forests, climate & conditions, ecology & environment etc., to sustain life. Life adopts a mode of living either in subordination or in harmony or in mastery with the conditions predominant, compatible or subservient. A civilization evolves akin to the summation of different cultural reflexes as in demonstration of seven colours of light. As human beings live on the planet earth, all stress is on the landmass unlike space & atmosphere.

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In Jammu & Kashmir, the Department of Geology & Mining established in 1960 with the objective to explore the mineral wealth & ground water resources looks after the mining and quarry operations.

Of all the living organisms in this vast and age old universe human kind in the conduct of its life is comparatively more dependent on the support and sources of nature. Nature, however, has not been stingy with J & K with various kinds of resources including mineral wealth. So far as lithic wealth is concerned there are various kinds of stone reserves like lignite in Handwara of district Kupwara with 8 million tonnes, slates in Baramulla, Kathua & Poonch with 9.6 million cubic meters, magnesite in district Udhampur with 7 million tonnes and sapphires at Paddar in district Doda with two kilometer mineralized zone. Besides, reserves of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium were also found in the district of Reasi in 2/2023 making a richer mineral depository than before. As compared to other building material, stone has the characteristics of durability, strength, reusability, fire resistance, non-conductor of electricity that justify its inescapable use and importance on proved grounds. It is a permanent building material with minimal impact on environment.

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During 2016 Government of Jammu & Kashmir issued SRO.105 dated 31-3-2016 for regulating the grant of various forms of mineral concessions (permits). These rules are called Jammu & Kashmir Minor Mineral Concession, Storage, Transportation of Minerals and Prevention of Illegal Mining Rules 2016. However, since their implementation during 2019 costs of sand and the stones witnessed an unexpected upward trend coupled with uncertainty in supply chain. Going by the standard of usage a common stone is more valuable than a precious gem as the former comforts and supports the life the latter fulfills only one of the tastes of stylish people. Natural resources exist for use by the people for genuine purposes and within genuine limits.

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If use of natural resources is not regulated properly, necessity may lead to cause breach of rules. Regulatory frame work should be purpose & people friendly with less procedural intricacies for any change over or introduction in the public system. Our world is anthropocentric and the nature up above, below & beneath and around is a witness to this fact. However, the dominant feature of the major world perspective and ideology structures it either for welfare or for hardship. In view of its absolute necessity the use of lithic wealth is to be optimized, equilibrated and stone quarry and sand extraction regulated in a way that may be in tandem with the forces of demand and supply requirements to interact at reasonable points for price and production. There should neither be a policy of ‘touch them not’ nor ‘crush them all’ but a middle path to elongate their use as long as they can in the best possible way in the interests of the country.

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The author is a former Sr. Audit Officer and Consultant in the A.G’s Office Srinagar.

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