The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to auction all the quarries along river bed and both government as well as forest land through competitive bidding. "To begin with, thirty quarries in Una district would be auctioned, followed by mines in Hamirpur and Kangra districts", Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihorti said here today.
He added that a master plan would be prepared under which quarries would be given on lease for 20 years to enable the right-holders derive maximum benefit.
The Minister said that the lease-holders would ensure that the mining was done in a scientific manner and quarries in the entire state would be given through auction in a phased manner.
Quarries with area up to three hectare would be reserved for Himachalis but individuals would not be granted the lease and only a "cooperative society of Himachalis" would be entitled to get the lease.
"This would not only provide gainful employment to local people but also discourage illegal mining"' he said, adding that all the old quarries would be leased through open auction after expiry of their lease period.
The lessees would be eligible to use their mineral resources in open market or in their own crashers but they would not be allowed to sell it to other crushers, Agnihotri said, adding that it would help in bringing down prices of sand and grit, besides ensuring people's participation in checking illegal mining.