K'taka govt allows re-opening of stone-mining, crusher units

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Bengaluru, Mar 29 (PTI): Karnataka government has decided to allow resumption of operations in stone-mining and crusher units, Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh R Nirani said on Monday.

He said the state Exchequer suffered a loss of more than Rs 300 crore due to closure of quarries and crusher units following the recent blasts.

The Mines and Geology Department issued a circular allowing stone-mining in quarries, an official press release said here.

For resuming the units, the owners of quarries and stone crushers have to give an undertaking to the authorities by stating they would abide by the rules and submit an NoC (no- objection certificate) from Centres Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) to use explosives within 90 days, the release said.

'Owners of stone quarries and crusher units must obtain permits from the DGMS. They must also submit an undertaking to the authorities over safe use of explosives in the mining areas,' the Minister said.

He said the closure of stone quarries and crusher units resulted in revenue loss.

Almost all stone quarries and crusher units stopped operating following tragic incidents in Shivamogga and Chikkaballapur districts. The state Exchequer has suffered a loss of more than Rs 300 crore due to closure,' he said.

Allowing the resumption of stone-mining would create employment opportunities, he said.

Construction activities were affected as the government laid more emphasis on safety measures following the two tragic incidents, the Minister said.

Owners have been laying off a large number of workers as they were unable to maintain the stalled units, he said.

The prices of raw materials suddenly skyrocketed in the market due to the closure of stone quarries and crusher units, he said.

The general public was finding it difficult to purchase these materials due to this situation, he said.

According to the department, there are over 2,500 stone quarries and stone crushing units in the state, and less than 10 per cent of them have NoC from DGMS.

For use of explosives of less than 2 kg and less than five acres, DGMS certificate is not needed.

Noting that it is mandatory to obtain permits from the DGMS but the owners are finding it difficult to purchase, store, use explosives due to tough conditions, Nirani said the Mines and Geology Department has decided to ease the process by changing the present guidelines and obtaining undertaking for resuming operations.

He further said the government has been taking steps for optimum use of the district mineral fund. PTI KSU NVG NVG