Govt says mining applications being accepted but no permits given

This is after NC’s call to not lift the mining moratorium until te Act is passed

During the Friday Meet held yesterday, the Prime Minister was asked on the lifting of the mining moratorium despite the letter sent to the government by the National Council (NC) to continue implementing the moratorium on new applications for lease of mines and quarries until an Act is passed by the Parliament following due legislation.

The Prime Minister replied, ‘’I received a letter on my desk from NC yesterday, and I thank NC for showing concern. I have all support and gratefulness to Upper House for reminding the Government about lifting the moratorium on mines and collieries permit issuance.’’

PM pointed out that one thing was very clear to him when going through the NC report.

He found there is a subtle  difference between allowing and issuing permit to accepting applications. “We removed this moratorium now to accept applications. We are not going to issue licenses. Please be careful with this because the line is very thin, once the Act is out, we will allow businesses according to the Act that is the issuance of license. Right now we are only going to accept applications.”

He added that one application will take at least one year or even more time to approve. “So if you wait for the Act to be passed and then accept application, that means another 3 to 4 years later we will be allowing the businesses to run, so are we not timing our actions accordingly?”

He said if the worry is about accepting applications then NC is absolutely correct but if NC ‘s concern is issuance of license not in keeping with the laws of the country, he fully agrees with that concern because the government is also equally concerned with the issue and has decided to not issue any licenses.

Lyonchhen said the moratorium is not on everything, but on issuance and acceptance of new licenses. He said old licenses have been going on business as usual and for old licenses that have expired, renewal has been going on as usual.

It was also made clear by the PM that he will be answering NC’s letter very soon with the clarification that licenses are not being issued.

He stated “We are accepting applications so that they can go get all the sectoral clearances mainly being environmental clearances, which will take many months so there is nothing to be worried.’’

‘’Secondly, it is not about issuing license but even if it has been issued and it is in the keeping with the law it is fine. The unspoken worry is that, is it politicized? Are we going to favor our supporters?  I am just cracking the shell actually because no one talks about it otherwise. I will insure you that such things will not happen at any cost,” assured the PM.

About Karma Chuki Namgyel

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