Tribune News Service
Shimla, September 21
The chances of work for setting up a soluble salt mining project at Darang in Mandi district have brightened with Hindustan Salt Limited (HSL) finally submitting its proposal for Rs 190 crore to the State Industry Department.
Despite a letter of intent having been issued to the HSL last year, there was no progress at their end and the state government had been awaiting their response.
“The HSL has submitted its proposal and soon we will place it before the single window clearance committee so that all the formalities can be completed at the earliest,” confirmed Rajinder Singh, Director, Industry.
“Once the single window clears the project, all other permissions will be granted so that work could begin at the earliest,” he said.
Singh said the project would bring in revenue to the state government and more importantly create avenues for direct and indirect employment for the locals in the Darang area. He added that the endeavour of the Industry department would be to grant all the clearances at the earliest so that work could begin and the project could be completed.
It is learnt that the HSL has also initiated the process for obtaining permissions, including forest clearance. Industry officials said the pending dues would also be cleared by the HSL and all other pending issues had been resolved.
They are of the opinion that the project has already been delayed so much that there should not be any further cause for further delay.
The state government had issued notices to the HSL for illegally continuing mining in the Darang area ever after the expiry of its lease. It was after the dispute was resolved in 2011 that the HSL decided to set up a Rs 200-crore soluble mining project at Darang which would provide employment to 400 persons. The salt extracted from Darang was being used for consumption of cattle but now it would be extracted by pumping water into the mines and then taken out through vacuum process.
The people of Darang and nearby areas are hoping that once the project comes up they would not just get direct employment but even other means of indirect employment would be generated which would help strengthen the economy of the rural area.
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