To seek relaxation in sand-mining and granite mining norms

The State plans to petition the Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court seeking relaxations in the “stringent stipulations” against extracting materials such as sand and rock from rivers and hills as such regulations will lead to the collapse of the construction sector, throwing tens of thousands out of employment, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the Assembly on Tuesday.

Responding to a calling attention motion by P. Ubaidulla on the problems faced by the construction sector in the State, the Chief Minister said even infrastructure projects such as the doubling of the railway line were affected by the shortage of construction materials such as crushed rock. He said the government had asked the District Collectors to identify stretches along the rivers where sand-mining could be done without causing environmental damage.

He said the government was aware of the problems in the construction industry and had asked the Chief Secretary to coordinate between the Revenue Department, which is in charge of issuing permits for sand-mining, and the Labour Department, which has to look after the concerns of the workers in the sector, so as to ensure that sufficient materials such as sand could be made available to the construction industry.

Textile industry

Replying to a calling attention motion by A.K. Balan, Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty said across the country textile industry was in a crisis and the situation in Kerala was no different. The budget for the current financial year had allocated Rs.60 crore to prop up the textile industry in the State. The government would work out a comprehensive revival plan for the textile mills in the public sector as well as the cooperative sector, he said.

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