Karnataka will set up a single-window agency to issue no-objection certificates (NoCs) to start mines and quarries within 90 days of receiving the application, Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh R. Nirani said.
Addressing the safety workshop organised by the Stone Quarry Owners Association here, he said that the liberalised mining policy will create an investor-friendly atmosphere and make Karnataka an easier place to do business.
“I am your representative and I will take your grievances to the Chief Minister and get them redressed,” he said.
On the single-window agency to expedite the process of applications for various mining proposals, he said: “This move is expected to get rid of red-tapism and boost the ease of doing business in the sector. The speedy approval through a single-widow agency will help investors start the projects and generate employment.”
At present, investors in the minor minerals sector like sand, stone and granite have to get NOCs from various departments such as Revenue, Forest and the Pollution Control Board to start their ventures.
“Now the proposed single-window agency will integrate these departments for better coordination and ensure approval of projects in a smooth and time-bound manner,” Nirani said.
He also added that the government was considering introduce ‘One Time Settlement’ (OTS) scheme to garner the revenue from penalties imposed on the mine owners for mining beyond limits.
“Accumulated fine amount has touched Rs 6,700 crore but the government has not able to generate any revenue from this. Instead, with introduction of the OTS scheme, the government can generate revenue at least bringing down 50 per cent relaxation. The quarry owners will also be made members of settlement committees,” he said.
The minister said the owners pay huge amounts in the form of royalty and GST paid by and these amounts are being spent for developmental works.
He said the government has temporarily closed many mines which resulted in the loss of royalty and mining firms are forced to cease operations which in turn resulted in revenue loss and unemployment.
Stressing on the importance of investments and sustainable growth, Nirani said the government did not take any coercive or punitive action against quarry owners despite pressure from the Opposition following recent blasts in mining areas.
“We did not take any knee-jerk action against the quarry owners after the blasts despite demand from the Opposition to arrest them. I know the stress and problems faced by the quarry owners and they cannot be blamed for the recent tragic incidents. It is imperative to inject confidence among investors and other stakeholders for economic development and progress. Any ill-advised coercive action will spoil investor confidence which will affect the flow of investments and thereby affect development of the state,” he said.