Authority to check illegal mining: Govt

To keep a check on illegal mining, an authority is being set up to investigate and prosecute those found guilty of indulging in such activities, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday.

Updated: Aug 16, 2010, 15:37 PM IST

New Delhi: To keep a check on illegal mining, an authority is being set up to investigate and prosecute those found guilty of indulging in such activities, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday.

"We will take stringent and deterrent action on illegal mining and to this effect, the National Mining Regulatory Authority is coming up with powers to detect, investigate and prosecute such cases," Mines Minister BK Handique said.

Once this authority comes into force, the Centre would be able to terminate the lease of miners indulging in illegal mining in case states do not act against such perpetrators, he
said during Question Hour.

"Any citizen can become a whistleblower and special courts can also be formed for prosecuting offenders under its provisions," he said.

In reply to another question, the minister added that in 2009-10, iron ore production was 2,018 million tonnes, out of which domestic consumption was 91 million tonnes while
export was to the tune of 117 million tonnes.

He said iron fines account for 70 percent of export, as the technology to process them is not available in the country.

"If we don`t export, then it will create environmental hazard and seriously impede the mining process. So there is no alternative but to export iron fines," Handique added.

PTI