KUPWARA : On the directions of Deputy Commissioner Kupwara, Ayushi Sudan, the Geology and Mining (G&M) Department, Kashmir has approached Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL), (a Govt. Of India enterprise) and Union Secretary of Mines (GOI) to resume the exploration (Geological investigation) and drilling of Lignite reserves at Nichhama, Hangnikote and its adjoining areas in Handwara Sub Division of Kupwara district.
It is worth mentioning here that, in the year 1989, the Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL), was engaged for detailed exploration of these lignite deposits which could be used for establishment of 20 -MV Thermal Power Plant.
MECL took up a two year field programme for detailed geological investigation of these deposits. During the field season of 1989-90, detailed exploration including drilling was conducted and reserves of the lignite were revised from 7.2 Million tonnes to 9 Million tonnes. However, the approved programme of Geological investigation was suspended in December 1989 due to political instability and could not be carried out further.
The J&K Minerals Limited was working on these deposits in late sixties and seventies for manufacture of Briquettes (Small blocks of compressed coal / peat dust used as fuel) at their plant then located in Industrial estate Zainakote, Srinagar.
Besides this at Awoora and Zirhama areas of Kupwara district, there are deposits of 8 lakh Metric tonnes of high quality Marble which can revive the industrial sector and can provide ample employment opportunities in the district.
Joint Director, Geology and Mining Kashmir, Khawaja Nisar said that Geology and Mining Department has approached to MECL for resuming exploration of Lignite, so that established mineral deposits are put to e-auction for grant of mineral concession as per the relevant MM (D&R) Act 1957 and socio economic condition of the area is uplifted and provide livelihood to local communities.