Jammu and Kashmir Minerals Limited (JKML) has come in for severe criticism from business community for awarding contract of Sapphire extraction to outside company having being established just five years ago.
JKML has roped in Delhi-based M/S Mineworks Private Limited, Delhi to tap the potential of precious gemstone Sapphire found in remote region Padar in Kishtwar district for commercial purposes.
The largest Kashmir Sapphires crystals are almost 12.5 cm in length and 7.5 cm in width. The colour is mainly pale to dense blue but Violet, Pink, Green and Yellow Sapphires are also found.
The local industrialists complained that M/S Mineworks Pvt. Ltd having no substantial expertise in Sapphire extraction has been roped in while locals were ignored.
“Why JKML did not rope in local companies for joint venture in sapphire extraction,” they rued.
JKML Secretary Mir Irfan said they need to see, who are the promoters of the company and decide if it is only 5-year-old or established long ago with substantial expertise.
“He said the Mineworks Pvt. Ltd is a consortium of three big partnership firms having New York based, Singapore based and India based companies," he said.
Irfan said the shareholders of Mineworks Pvt. Ltd have other companies as well, which deal with extraction of valuable stones.
“We don't need to look at how old or new the Mineworks is. We need to see the background of other three partnership firms. One of the shareholders own a diamond mines in South Africa,” he said.
Irfan said the government after proper verification and analysis roped in the company for mining sapphires.
President Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industries Kashmir (CCIK) Zahoor Tramboo said after analyzing the profile of the company, they have realized it is just a 5-year-old with no major expertise in extraction.
“Even if the company has three partners, one wonders why how little their share as it has authorized share capital of Rs. 500,000 only so far,” he said.
Another industrialist, wishing not to be named, said the government has always neglected local expertise when they have successfully done major projects.
“This joint venture with the outside company is tantamount to loot and plunder of our natural resources. Government should always give priority to the local companies having expertise in the particular field,” he said.