Centre intensifies drive against illegal mining

Intensifying the drive against illegal mining, the Centre today asked all states to constitute high-level committees to address this menace.

New Delhi: Intensifying the drive against
illegal mining, the Centre today asked all states to
constitute high-level committees to address this menace.

"Increased incidents of illegal mining are a major
concern. We have asked all states to set up state-level
Coordination-cum-Empowered Committees and prepare an action
plan to prevent repeated large-scale occurrence of illegal
mining," Mines Secretary Santha Sheela Nair said after a
meeting with state officials here.

Only nine states -- Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,
Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and
West Bengal -- have constituted Coordination-cum-Empowered
Committees on the pattern of the central committee to address
illegal mining, faster processing of mineral concessions, etc.

The Centre had recently asked states to form such
committees, headed by Chief Secretaries, Nair said.

At present, there are not enough legal provisions for
central intervention in illegal mining in states, while the
magnitude of the problem is so great that last year about
42,000 cases were detected in 11-mineral bearing states.

The Centre had asked the states to report all instances
of illegal mining and use satellite imagery to detect such
activities. It had also asked for cells to be set up to
monitor price trends, as a spurt in prices is usually linked
to increased illegal mining activities.

"We have directed states to set up cells to monitor iron
and manganese ore prices, as a spurt in prices often indicates
an increase in mining activities. We have traced that a lot of
mining takes place using legal licenses for mining in areas
other than specified," Nair said.

The states had also been asked to track the movement of
vehicles carrying minerals, besides bar-coding and the use of
holograms for transport permits to trace unauthorised
transportation of minerals.

Other directions, she said, include collection of
information from ports, customs authorities and the Ministry
of Commerce on export of ores and compulsory registration of
all the end-users to check payment of royalty before purchase
of ores. The state governments have also asked for faster
finalisation of mineral concessions.

Nair said the moves to curb illegal mining may result in
a slight dip in iron ore production, but there were chances
that production may increase due to opening of new mines. The
country saw 226 million tonnes of iron ore production last

Meanwhile, a provision has also been added in the new
mining legislation that anyone found guilty of illegal mining
will be debarred from mining anywhere in the country.



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