RTI reveals over 40% of valid mining sites in Kerala lying inactive
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that around 41.46 per cent of mines of major minerals in Kerala are not working though valid mining leases have been issued for them. The reply to the application provided by the Directorate of Mining and Geology, Kerala, states that there are 82 valid mining leases for major minerals in the state, including public and private sectors. Out of these, 34 mines are lying inactive. In terms of area, around 317.5 hectares of mining land are lying untilized.
The reply further shows that a majority of unused mining leases belong to private sector with 13 silica sand mines and 11 china clay mines lying inactive. The reply also shows that most of the non-operational mines are in Alappuzha district (14), followed by Thiruvananthapuram (10) and Kollam (4). The reply states that the reasons behind such large number of mines remaining unutilized include labour shortage, local protests, etc.
The data provided in the reply shows that though the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act provides for cancelling of lease if the party fails to begin mining operation within two years of execution of lease or if the party discontinues the mining operations for a period of two years, the lease should be cancelled, but no such steps have been taken by the authorities.