Govt revokes ban on sand, stone extraction

- PRAGATI SHAHI, Kathmandu
Govt revokes ban on sand, stone extraction

Sep 1, 2014-

The government has lifted its ban on extraction, collection and export of natural resources such as stones, boulders, pebbles, sand and aggregates for crusher industries until January 14 next year. However, the ban on export of such items to India remains, and the mining of the materials from the Chure region and river basins not permitted.

The decision comes at a time when crusher entrepreneurs have been organising protests by halting traffic to press the government to revoke the ban. Given massive exploitation of the resources that threatened local environment, the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies had in July imposed the ban on extraction, collection and export of natural resources to India while only the supply was permitted for domestic supply until October.

A high-level meeting of the Cabinet committee on Economic and Infrastructure chaired by Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat on Monday decided to revise the ban and allow resumption of the activity of around 458 crusher industries operating in 37 districts.

State machineries, including those involved in construction and development of various projects, such as the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Works, Ministry of Local Development and Ministry of Finance had been raising concerns over the shortage of construction materials, said a high-level official at the Physical Infrastructure and Works Ministry.

The decision is expected to facilitate the supply of construction materials for development and infrastructure works, the official said.

In July last year, the Cabinet had come up with new working standards to be followed by the crusher industries to operate legally. The standards included operation of crusher factories at a distance of 2,000 meters from forests, national parks and human settlements, 500 meters from highways and rivers, and 100 meters from high voltage transmission lines. Crusher entrepreneurs were given one year, until mid-July this year, to relocate their industries and implement the newly formulated standards.

Of the 458 crusher industries registered in the country, only 32 were found following the standards, said Shanta Raj Subedi, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, who is also in the committee.

A study conducted to estimate total existing stocks of stones, boulders, sand, pebbles and aggregates in the country found that there is around 3.4 million cubic meters of these resources in raw form in 37 districts. “The stock is enough for three months,” said Subedi.

Published: 02-09-2014 09:21

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