Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari Wednesday expressed deep concern over the lackadaisical attitude of the government that has led to a grinding halt in developmental activities, black-marketing and an unprecedented escalation in prices of construction material across Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference here, Bukhari regretted the acute shortage of construction material that has led to illegal extraction and hoarding of construction material like sand, aggregate, gravel and stones causing immense sufferings to the general public.
“It is highly unfortunate that the natives of J&K who have been associated with minor mineralogy business since decades have been sidelined and the contractors from outside J&K who are yet to produce environmental clearances have been given a free hand to control the market,” he observed while appealing for personal intervention of the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha into the matter.
Bukhari said the e-auction for extraction of raw material was held clandestinely without giving any wide publicity to the tendering process which has drastically resulted into exclusion of the local contractors.
“Now what has added to this fishy allotment process is that the successful non-resident J&K contractors are yet to fulfill the requisite terms and conditions especially getting environmental clearances. Despite these noticeable shortcomings, these contractors are indulging in illegal extraction of raw material through their sub contractors in connivance with the concerned departments,” he said.
Bukhari said the government must frame a comprehensive policy taking in view the Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand models wherein the rights of the locals on their natural resources have been safeguarded and insulated against the impact of e-auctioning process.
He demanded that the government must regulate the prices of the raw material needed for construction purposes and ensure its hassle free availability in the markets.
Apni Party President demanded that all the left out mineral blocks in J&K should be immediately demarcated and notified within the radius of around eight kilometers for stone crusher units and at least 50 per cent of these demarcated blocks should be reserved for the local stakeholders.