New Delhi: Public sector units (PSUs) such as Nalco and Hindustan Copper Ltd have proposed to invest more than Rs 10,000 crore in the mining sector, Parliament was informed today.
As per data provided by Minister of State for Steel and Mines Vishnu Deo Sai in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, aluminium maker Nalco, Hindustan Copper Ltd and Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) have proposed an investment of Rs 10,037.50 crore in the mining sector.
It includes Nalco's investment in Pottangi bauxite mines and Utkal D&E coal blocks in Odisha and Hindustan Copper's in copper mines in Jharkhand and Rajasthan.
"Mining sector has been liberalised since 1993 and it is dominated by a large number of private sector miners. Under the liberalised economic environment, investment decisions are taken by the entrepreneurs based on their techno-economic feasibility and commercial considerations," Sai told the House.
In a separate query on illegal mining, the minister informed the House that a total of 533 FIRs have been filed between 2012-13 and 2015-16 (till January) regarding illegal mining in the company.
Besides, a total of 635 complaints have been lodged in 2012-13 and the first 10 months of the current fiscal.
State governments are empowered, under the Section 23C of the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act), to make rules for prevention of illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals, he said.
The matters relating to illegal mining come under the legislative and administrative jurisdiction of states.
He added that the Centre has amended the MMDR Act to provide for stringent punitive measures to combat illegal mining.
Illegal mining has been made punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and with a fine, which may extend to Rs 5 lakh per hectare of the area.
"Provisions have also been made for setting up of special courts for the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences relating to illegal mining," the minister said.