Inquiry panel on illegal mining set up

The Shah Commission will function from Mumbai and will submit its report to the Centre in 18 months from the date of its functioning, sources in the Union Ministry of Mines told Deccan Herald.

The commission will inquire into the illegalities that have taken place in iron and manganese ore mining across the country, including its trade and transportation, export, granting permission and the persons behind these activities, said a notification issued in this regard on Friday.

Apart from conducting an inquiry, the commission will also make recommendations to the government about how to curb such activities. The public can also lodge their complaints and the commission head will visit the areas from where illegal mining is reported.
The commission will have all-India jurisdiction, sources said.
Set up accountability
The inquiry is to determine the extent to which the management, regulatory and monitoring systems have failed to deter, prevent, detect and punish offences relating to mining, storage, transportation and export.

Earlier, the Union Cabinet decided to set up a commission after several meetings between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Union Mines Ministry.Of late, the issue of illegal mining has been in the limelight, especially in mineral-rich states like Karnataka, Orissa and Jharkhand.

Influential politicians, including three ministers in the BJP-led government in Karnataka, were allegedly involved in illegal mining.

The magnitude of the problem is such that 42,000 cases of violation were detected in 11 mineral-rich states in last year alone. The issue figured prominently in the monsoon session of Parliament.

Union Minister for Mines B K Handique had apprehended that the money from illegal mining could have gone to terrorists. The issue was discussed with the PMO.

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