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Shortage of construction items artificial: Pramila

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, July 8 - Lack of coordination between two government departments was out in the open today with Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma describing the shortage of construction materials as �artificial�.

The Public Works Department (PWD) had been insisting that projects worth several hundred crores have come to a standstill due to the scarcity of construction materials, particularly stone chips.

�There is no pending royalty paid indent for minor minerals from the PWD and other developmental departments. The crisis is artificial. We have held several rounds of meetings to sort out the issues and the Forest Department has taken necessary action. I don�t know why they are blaming the Forest Department,� Brahma told a press conference here.

She, however, admitted that procedures have become strict after the department began enforcing the Mines & Mineral Act in toto. �During earlier governments, the rules were not followed. The rule to collect

royalty in advance was there in the Act, but was not adhered to. Now we are enforcing it. We can�t allow anyone to bypass the rules. The contractors can clear the royalty and take the materials,� she said, in response to claims by contractors that the newly enforced rule to collect the royalty in advance has been causing inconvenience.

Interestingly, according to figures provided by Forest officials at the press conference, there are 455 quarries of minor minerals in the State, of which only 250 are functioning as on date.

In a written statement, the Forest Department said that to make stone easily available for development purpose an additional 57 quarries are under process of sale. Also, forest clearances have been sought from the Central government for operating another 23 quarries falling under the reserved forest area.

The minister, however, admitted that there is a crisis for private individuals and organisations in and around Guwahati requiring the minor minerals, because material from Meghalaya have stopped coming due to NGT issues.

As part of measures to tide over the crisis for the general public, she said stone materials have been stocked near Boragaon in the city and people requiring them may contact the ranger or the DFO.

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Shortage of construction items artificial: Pramila

GUWAHATI, July 8 - Lack of coordination between two government departments was out in the open today with Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma describing the shortage of construction materials as �artificial�.

The Public Works Department (PWD) had been insisting that projects worth several hundred crores have come to a standstill due to the scarcity of construction materials, particularly stone chips.

�There is no pending royalty paid indent for minor minerals from the PWD and other developmental departments. The crisis is artificial. We have held several rounds of meetings to sort out the issues and the Forest Department has taken necessary action. I don�t know why they are blaming the Forest Department,� Brahma told a press conference here.

She, however, admitted that procedures have become strict after the department began enforcing the Mines & Mineral Act in toto. �During earlier governments, the rules were not followed. The rule to collect

royalty in advance was there in the Act, but was not adhered to. Now we are enforcing it. We can�t allow anyone to bypass the rules. The contractors can clear the royalty and take the materials,� she said, in response to claims by contractors that the newly enforced rule to collect the royalty in advance has been causing inconvenience.

Interestingly, according to figures provided by Forest officials at the press conference, there are 455 quarries of minor minerals in the State, of which only 250 are functioning as on date.

In a written statement, the Forest Department said that to make stone easily available for development purpose an additional 57 quarries are under process of sale. Also, forest clearances have been sought from the Central government for operating another 23 quarries falling under the reserved forest area.

The minister, however, admitted that there is a crisis for private individuals and organisations in and around Guwahati requiring the minor minerals, because material from Meghalaya have stopped coming due to NGT issues.

As part of measures to tide over the crisis for the general public, she said stone materials have been stocked near Boragaon in the city and people requiring them may contact the ranger or the DFO.