Writes to Chandy, Kunhalikutty seeking timely update of mining policy

Minister for Labour and Rehabilitation Shibu Baby John has demanded a restriction on mineral sand mining in the State to the public sector.

In a letter to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty on Friday seeking to address the crisis gripping the mineral sand-based industries at Chavara, Mr. John called for a timely update of the State’s mining policy. The right for mineral sand-mining in the stretch between Kayamkulam and Ambalapuzha should be vested strictly with public sector undertakings (PSUs). The right for mining the sand between Kayamkulam and Chavara should be given only to Indian Rare Earths (IRE) and Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd. (KMML).

On granting the rights, the companies should share their profit with the people in the area.

The government should constitute a high-level committee to study and address the problems in the sector, he said. Steps should be taken to check the smuggling of mineral sand.

Shortage of sand had affected the functioning of IRE and KMML.

At the same time, it was being smuggled out of the State. The smugglers were cashing in on the loopholes in the mining policy.

In the backdrop of the employees of the PSUs facing a serious crisis and the State being depleted of its resources, the government should step in and take action.

Initially, the mineral sand deposit was expected to be between Neendakara and Kayamkulam, but following the tsunami, it got extended up to Ambalapuzha.

The government had not given the mining rights to anyone so far. Hence, it should give the right to the PSUs, Mr. John said.

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