NATIONAL

Implement uniform mining rules: official

State governments need to “harmonise” regulations governing granite and stone quarrying, which would result in a regulatory system that was “transparent and fosters competition,” said Vishwapati Trivedi, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, on Wednesday.

Speaking at the inaugural session of Stona 2012, the international granite and stone fair organised by the All-India Granites and Stone Association, Mr. Trivedi observed that the application of the Granite Conservation and Development Rules, 1999, “varied considerably” in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which accounted for the bulk of granite production in the country. “Many States,” he said, “have not even adopted the rules.”

Referring obliquely to the series of scandals and controversies in the mining industry in the last few years, Mr. Trivedi urged the industry to maintain a balance between the growing demand for minerals and the “social and environmental concerns” that had been raised.

He urged the industry to articulate its views before the Parliamentary Standing Committee that was due to conduct hearings on the Bill to amend the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act.

Mr. Trivedi said that about 60 per cent of the annual turnover of Rs. 30,000 crore from granite and stone units in the country was from the southern region.

If the industry was to meet the demand, which was growing at 15 per cent, it would need to invest Rs. 1 lakh crore in the next 5-10 years, he pointed out.

Murugesh R. Nirani, Minister for Large-and-Medium-scale Industries, urged the granite industry to take advantage of the government's industrial policy, which encourages value addition through “incentives and concessions.”

J.B. Surana, president, AIGSA, was present.