New Delhi: The Centre has asked states to frame rules to curb the menace of illegal mining and improve functioning of concerned departments to ensure "tangible results".
"State governments have been requested to frame Rules under Section 23C of the MMDR (Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 on illegal mining, storage and transportation of minerals," a Mines Ministry official told PTI.
States have also been asked to improve the functioning of their concerned departments in order to bring tangible results, the official said.
A missive has also been sent to states citing efforts made by the Rajasthan government in this regard, which has deployed a police force comprising 450 personnel headed by an Additional Director General level official, meant exclusively for preventing illegal mining, he said.
As per section 23C of the MMDR Act, the state governments are empowered to make rules for preventing illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals.
The official said Rajasthan has taken a lead in framing rules in this regard, while the states which have so far not framed such rules have been asked to do it immediately.
Stress has been given on the fact that the rules should inter alia cover issues pertaining to railways, ports, customs and excise.
In cases of illegal mining, where there is a loss of revenue to the state government from royalty, rents or taxes alongwith the actual loss of mineral, the said Act provides a penalty of imprisonment for a term up to two years or a fine extending to Rs 25,000 or both.
As per the Act, the state governments may recover not only the price of mined out mineral, in case the mineral is disposed of, but also the royalty and rent or taxes, as may be payable for the mineral mined illegally from an area.
According to official data, a total of 94,599 cases of illegal mining had surfaced in 2011-12, while the number during the last fiscal was equally high.
Meanwhile, as per the official, the Centre has also asked states for strict implementation of Rule 45 of Mineral Conservation and Development Rules (MCDR) besides other measures.
Rule 45 makes it mandatory for all mining lease holders, traders, exporters, stockists and end-users to report to Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and the state government on the transaction in minerals on a monthly and annual basis.
Besides, the IBM had constituted Special Task Forces for inspection of mines in endemic areas by taking the help of satellite imageries, the official said, adding Centre-appointed Justice M B Shah Commission is also enquiring into large-scale illegal mining of iron ore and manganese ore in the country.