The Uttarakhand cabinet on Saturday gave powers to district magistrates to decide all issues related to stone crushers and fix fee on storage of minerals such as riverbed material, chief secretary Satrughan Singh said.
He said owners of stone crushers can now apply for renewal of licences after every five years, instead of yearly.
The Harish Rawat cabinet decided that the rate of royalty on minerals and riverbed material would now be fixed on the basis of its quality, Singh said.
The relaxation for mining came at a time when the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been accusing Rawat of helping mining mafia.
This was the second cabinet meeting by Rawat after he was reinstated as the chief minister of Uttarakhand, which was under President’s rule for nearly two months.
A day after the Central rule was revoked in Uttarakhand, Rawat cabinet on Thursday decided to quickly implement decisions taken by his government in the past and expedite execution of government orders issued earlier.
On Saturday, the cabinet recommended the Centre to declare the central Himalayan region a drought-hit state and sanction monetary relief at par with Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The cabinet also okayed payment of bonus to individuals, institutions, village panchayats or forest panchayats in rural areas in lieu of developing ponds for water conservation.
“Under the scheme, one-time minimum bonus ranging from Rs 5000 to Rs 1 lakh will be paid to the beneficiaries,” Singh said.
“Besides, additional bonus would also be paid to them depending upon the quantity of water conserved,” he clarified.
The cabinet also cleared the decks for setting up of an institute for local languages in Gochar, and okayed a proposal for including the SC/ST community of Fiqwal inhabiting Pratapnagar in Tehri in the Other Backward Castes (OBC) category.