New Delhi:Centre has asked states to set up special cells in a bid to prevent nexus between illegal mining contractors and extremists, who try to extort money and other resources from mining companies.
A high-level committee comprising of top officials from the concerned departments of the 12-mineral producing states and the Centre will meet early next month to discuss status on formation of such cells, a Mines Ministry notification said.
These special cells will focus on anti-extortion and anti-money laundering operations to curb links between illegal mining as well as forest contractors and extremists. States have been told earlier to form such cells and their status has to be discussed, it added.
The 12 mineral producing states are Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
A senior government official said that the issue will be taken up at the meeting of the Coordination-cum-Empowered Committee (CEC), which is headed by the Union Mines Secretary.
The meeting is scheduled for the second week of April.
"States such as Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Telangana face issues of extremists disrupting mining operations.
There have also been instances were illegal miners have been found to have joined hands with extremists and the Centre wants states to prevent such issues," he added.
Such instances not only lead to a loss of revenue for the mining companies and the (state) governments, but also tarnishes the image of the states concerned in providing safety for industries, the official said.