Geology, Mining Department holds Online Awareness-cum-Interaction meet

Jammu: The Department of Geology and Mining today organized a web based online Interaction-cum-Awareness Meet with the Letter of Intent (LoI) holders of minor mineral blocks, recently e-auctioned by the Department.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, K.K. Sharma, speaking on the occasion, informed that the objective of the Web-based Awareness Programme was to educate the LoI holders about the procedure involved in Mining Plan approval, Environmental Clearance (EC) and securing Consent To Operate (CTO). He said that due to Covid-19, the Department is encouraging the web-based platform to help contain further spread of the pandemic. He informed that the department has successfully auctioned 118 minor mineral blocks and fast-tracked the procedures and processes involved in obtaining mandatory clearance for extraction of minerals.
He appreciated the pro-active approach of the department and impressed upon the increased use of technological innovations and platforms to disseminate information and facilitate requisite clearances.
Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce, M. K. Dwivedi, highlighted that the issuance of LoIs, Approval of Mining Plans and other procedures have been simplified and the department is in the process of further streamlining the system.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, P.K. Pole, said that with the focus on environmental issues, the mandatory clearances and regulations need to be strictly observed. The issue of facilitating passes for the project proponents was also discussed in the meet.
Director Geology and Mining, Vikas Sharma, who moderated the Online Google meet, informed that the department with an aim to introduce transparency in the system has initiated e-Auction process of minor Mineral Blocks in the UT of J&K. So far, Letters of Intent (LoIs) in respect of 91 minor Mineral Blocks across the UT have been issued to the successful bidders. The Department recently streamlined the process of approval and also re-constituted the committees formed in this regard in a bid to put the system of approval on fast-track mode.
He further informed that the Department is closely monitoring the progress of submission of Mining Plans and so far the Department has secured 57 Mining Plans. After approval, the successful bidders have to apply for the Environmental Clearance and thereafter for securing Consent to Operate (CTO) from the Pollution Control Board, he added.
In this regard, the detailed procedure for applying and securing Environmental Clearance was explained to the participants by Neelu Gera, Director Environment, Ecology and Remote Sensing, J&K.
The detailed process involved in the conduct of public hearing and obtaining Consent to Operate was dealt by Suresh Chugh, Chairman, Pollution Control Board and B.M. Sharma, Member-Secretary, Pollution Control Board.
The officers of the department of Geology and Mining, Pollution Control Board and the Directorate of Environment, Ecology and Remote Sensing, addressed the queries of the participants and also shared related information with the participants.
The Online Meet among others was also participated by Pankaj Gupta, OSD to the Advisor, Humanyu Rashid, Member-Secretary, SEAC, Senior Officers of Geology and Mining Department and the project proponents/LoI holders drawn from within the UT and outside.