Ranchi: Illegal coal mining is rampant in Jharkhand, with around 720,000 tonnes of the mineral being smuggled every year and causing a massive revenue loss of up to Rs.600 crore, an official said on Saturday.
Around 18,000 people are involved in the illeggal mining activities, transporting the coal on cycles, the official added.
"This is a huge revenue loss to the state government and the coal companies," Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) Chairman-cum-Managing Director RK Saha told reporters here.
According to an estimate, the Jharkhand government and the coal companies lose more than Rs.500 to Rs.600 crore every year due to coal smuggling.
Coal smuggling is done from both abandoned and operating mines of the three state-owned coal companies -- CCL, Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) and Eastern Coalfield Ltd (ECL).
Saha said: "The coal companies on several occasions have taken up the issue of illegal mining with the state government. There is a proposal to form cooperatives at the villages where the practice is rampant. The villagers will get money from the cooperatives for extracting coal."
He said providing security cover to the coal mining areas is not possible.
"CCL is operational in an around 2,006 sq km area that is guarded by 1,500 security personnel. It is not possible to cover all the areas with security guards even if we raise their number from 1,500 to 15,000," he added.