Kolkata: The Centre has asked all state
governments to constitute high-level coordination-cum-empowered
committees to counter the menace of illegal mining, which
causes huge losses for the exchequer, Union Minister for Coal
Sriprakash Jaiswal said here today.
It was found that at least 10,000 mafia groups operated
in the country, mostly concentrating on collieries belonging
to Coal India Ltd, and the annual plunder was not less than
5/6 million tonnes of coal, he said at a programme organised
by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
He said that coal-producing areas, including Orissa,
Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh, were affected by illegal mining.
Coal India chairman Partha S Bhattacharyya, who also
spoke on the issue, said that focus has to be given on
underground mining because open cast mines would get
He said that work began in this direction, but the pace
of progress was not satisfactory. Smaller underground mines
with a capacity of 1/2 mt should be developed in large number
as bigger underground mines might face problems in getting
At present, only 10 per cent of the total coal production
came from the underground mines, he said.