On account of severe shortage of crushed stones for various public works in the State, the Cabinet on Thursday decided to grant permission to units located within 100 metres from the forest boundary to resume stone crushing.

The government banned stone crushing on land within 100 metres of forests in 2007.

A Cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, permitted all closed crushing units located near forests to resume operations.

Briefing presspersons on the Cabinet decisions here, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs T.B. Jayachandra said that there are 3,000 crushing units in the State. But more than 300 units were shut down on account of the ban. Work on roads, construction of buildings and bridges were stopped following severe shortage of crushed stones in the last few years.

Several districts, including Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada, have been facing severe shortage of crushed stones and development work has come to a standstill, he said.

On account of shortage of crushed stones, several units located outside the State or in the border arrears had made huge profits. After several rounds of deliberations with the Forest Department and interpretation of the Karnataka Forest Act, it was decided to lift the ban on stone crushing units located outside the forest areas, Mr. Jayachandra said.

Funding

A decision has been taken to release Rs. 5.17 crore to the Rajiv Gandhi Super-Speciality Hospital, Raichur, to procure medical equipment. It was also decided sanction Rs. 7.8 crore for medical colleges of Hassan, Bidar, and Belguam for purchase of scanning machines.

It was decided to amend the cadre and recruitment rules to make 10 class pass and 12 class pass as the minimum qualification for recruitment of Group D and second division clerks in the Government. Earlier, the minimum qualification was seventh standard and SSLC pass for Group D and second division clerk posts, respectively, he said.

The Cabinet has decided to withdraw cases filed against farmers by Dalmia Cements, Gulbarga, a few years ago. It was decided to release Rs. 8 crore for installation of centralised air-conditioned (AC) systems in the Karnataka High Court.

It was decided to extend the tenure of eight Assistant Engineers appointed under the World Bank-aided Hydrology Project II in the State. The term of the engineers would come to an end by December 2013, he said.

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