In a crucial decision, the government decided to ease the existing stringent curbs on sand mining and rock mining in the state.
The relaxations will be subject to environment clearances or regulatory bodies, court directives and guidelines, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told mediapersons here.
A minor Cabinet meet, attended by seven ministers, veered around the view that the existing blanket ban on sand mining and rock quarrying was posing serious hurdles to the construction sector.
Chandy said it has been decided to allow sand mining from reservoirs in the state. ‘’Since dams are situated in forest areas, the clearance of the Union MoEF is also needed,’’ he said. ‘’If all guidelines are followed strictly, nothing can be allowed. Kerala’s cases is unique,’’ the Chief Minister said.
‘’The Chief Secretary will hold a video conference with district collectors and issue necessary guidelines on eased regulations,’’ he said. Chandy added that the Geology Department would look after restrictions and regulations for rock quarries and Revenue Department would be in control of sand mining areas.
The Environment Panel headed by Dr Muthunayakam and Prof K P Joy and Forest Additional Chief Secretary P K Mohanti as members will take a decision on giving clearance for dredging of the shipping channel under the Department of Ports.
At the district level, committee headed by district collectors will do the job. He also said that the Revenue and Water Resources ministries have been directed to come up with an action plan to deal with impending drought in the state.
No Appointment Ban
The Chief Minister made it clear that the government will not resort to short cuts like imposing a ban on appointments to tide over the financial constraints of the state. ‘’If the government had any intention to impose a ban, will the PSC be asked to extend the validity of rank lists by another six months?’’ he asked.
‘’Under no circumstances, people will be burdened in the name of augmenting financial resources. Tax mobilisation will be strengthened. The reason for the financial stress experienced by the state is a shortfall in targetted growth of tax revenue. In other states, a cut in plan expenditure is being resorted to.Kerala will not do it,” he said.