The Kerala government will soon issue a roadmap on what needs to be done after the high court overturned its decision to bar private sector from mining mineral beach sands in the state, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here Sunday.
Chandy said that Industry Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty will come out with a roadmap very soon on how to go forward on the issue. “See, there is no need for any knee-jerk reaction and all things will be dealt with by our government after going through everything.”
His comments came after a division bench of the Kerala High Court, comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Mathew P. Joseph, Friday asked the state government to consider 29 pending applications from private sector and joint sector companies seeking permission for mineral sand mining.
The state government has approached the division bench of the high court after a single-judge bench of the same court Feb 13 last year quashed the state government’s decision to bar private sector from mining mineral beach sands.
State-owned Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd. and the central government-owned Indian Rare Earths Ltd. are the only companies permitted to mine mineral sands from the beaches in the state’s southern districts, which are rich in titanium, ilmenite and rutile.
Following Friday’s ruling, Opposition Leader and Communist Party of India-Marxist leader V.S. Achuthanandan has asked the state government to file an appeal in the Supreme Court and appoint a top lawyer.
Achuthanandan said public sector companies should be given the opportunity and mines should not fall into the hands of private players, who are out to make money.
T.N. Prathapan, a green activist and Congress legislator, blamed the advocate general for delay in filing an appeal.
Chandy, however, said in each and every case, there was a time frame to go forward with the appeal.
“There was no delay that has taken place (in filing the appeal). Now the next step in this issue would be taken through discussions with appropriate people. Each and every aspect would be looked into and then we will take the decision.”