Sapphire and Mineral Ore extraction: Govt mulling to allot extraction contract...

Sapphire and Mineral Ore extraction: Govt mulling to allot extraction contract to GoI owned Company

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Srinagar, Sep 3, CNS:  A day after Chamber of Commerce and Industries- Kashmir (CCIK) accused the state government of ignoring local enterprises while allotting contracts for extraction of Sapphire in Padder, Kishtwar, it has come to fore that State Government has decided to allot the extraction contract to Government of India owned National Mineral Development Corporation.

     Highly placed sources informed CNS that a team from National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) recently visited Jammu and Kashmir and had closed door meeting with the officials of Industries and Commerce Department. The NMDC delegation that was reportedly led by Project Director Satish Kumar had a closed door meeting with the Minister for Industries and Commerce Chandar Prakash. Sources said that without any bidding or public notice, the I&C Ministry decided to allot the contract for extraction of Sapphire and other mineral ores to NMDC.

    Incorporated in 1958 as a Government of India fully owned public enterprise. NMDC is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Steel, Government of India.

    Sources said that NMDC delegation was allotted Red Plate Vehicles by State Motor Garages Department apparently to keep their visit a secret. The Red Plate vehicles are used or allotted to only VVIP’s.

     Sheikh Aashiq, Pres Chamber of Commerce and Industries- Kashmir ( CCIK) told CNS that he fails to understand why these things are not brought into public domain. “Tenders should be floated and there should be proper bidding. If extraction contract of Sapphire or any other mineral ores is allotted to any company without any bidding, that will be illegal and local enterprise will vehemently oppose such move,” he said.

     Admitting that a team of NMDC was in valley, Deputy Director Mr Raffique told CNS that under Corporate Social Responsibility the company wants to invest a handsome amount in Jammu and Kashmir. “There is a project in Panthal near Katra and we want to invest Rs 300 crore there. Similarly we want to extract Sapphire from Paddar Kishtwar, iron ore from Bandipora and other mineral ores. We have received a positive response from the government of Jammu and Kashmir and we hope NMDC will be allotted the contract,” he said.

    Despite repeated attempts, neither Minister for Industries and Commerce Chandar Prakash nor MoS for I&C Muhammad Ashraf Mir picked up the phone. (CNS)