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`Large scale` illegal mining in states: Govt

Acknowledging "large scale" illegal mining in various states, the government Tuesday said this could lead to a nexus between criminal and anti-national elements, especially in Naxal-affected areas.



New Delhi: Acknowledging "large scale"
illegal mining in various states, the government Tuesday said
this could lead to a nexus between criminal and anti-national
elements, especially in Naxal-affected areas.

Making a statement on illegal mining in the Lok Sabha,
Minister of State for Mines B K Handique said a Commission of
Inquiry has been set up to look into the extent of illegal
mining.

The Commission, which would present its report within 18
months, would identify persons or firms responsible and
ascertain if there had been any tampering of official records
relating to land and boundaries.

"Due to a combination of reasons in the recent years, the
incidence of illegal mining has grown considerably. This
problem is acquiring organised dimensions and may lead to a
nexus with criminal and anti-national elements in some of the
states including those affected by Left-wing extremism," he
said.

Several reports "clearly point to the fact that mining,
raising, transportation and export of iron ore and manganese
ore illegally or without lawful authority in various states
are taking place on a large scale," Handique said.

Due to rise in demand for iron ore, he said mining
activity has increased manifold, particularly in the states of
Orissa, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa.

With a view to curbing this menace, the enquiry panel
would inquire into and determine the nature and extent of
illegal mining and trade and transportation of iron and
manganese ores.

It would also identify the persons or companies concerned,
determine the extent to which the management, regulatory and
monitoring systems have failed and identify persons
responsible for tampering of official records.

The Commission may take assistance of any central or state
investigative agency or any other authority as it may deem
necessary.

"I am hopeful the Commission`s recommendations would help
the government to take necessary steps to prevent illegal
mining," Handique said.

PTI

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