Centre to review work on illegal mining

Union ministry convenes 13-state meet next week

In the meeting, to be chaired by Mines Secretary S Vijay Kumar, the Centre will seek Action Taken Reports from the states for curbing illegal mining till November 2010.

A similar meeting was held a few months ago, when the 13 states, including Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, had claimed that they had constituted the committees as directed by the Centre early this year.  In next week’s meeting, the Centre wants to take stock of the progress made by such committees, through which the states were asked to initiate steps to curb illegal mining in coordination with the Railways, Ports and Customs Departments.

Besides this, issues like adoption of a model state mineral policy, royalty rates and expediting forest clearance for mining leases would be discussed at the meeting, sources in the Union Mining Ministry said.

The Centre will also apprise the states about the proposed new mining Bill, in which the ministry had included a provision that anyone found guilty of illegal mining will be debarred from the activity anywhere in the country.

Last month, the draft Bill got the clearance of a ministerial panel headed by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and it is now awaiting Cabinet clearance. This Bill was after the Centre detected 42,000 cases of illegal mining in 11 mineral rich states including Karnataka and AP in 2009-10.

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