Govt tells states to seize illegal ore

 
Union Mines Minister B K Handique, who chaired a high-level meeting of state officials recently, directed them to come out with state-specific action plan to curb illegal mining within a week.

Representatives from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh attended the meeting. The minister has also asked the states to submit monthly reports explaining steps taken to curb illegal mining, an official in the Ministry told Deccan Herald here.

Buyers’ responsibility

Instead of putting the onus only on mining companies, the Centre is also keen to make ore buyers equally responsible in this menace. “The ministry will ask ore buyers to submit details of the source of ore and cost of the ore purchase. If the buyers purchase ore from genuine mining companies, half of the problems will be solved,” said the official.

The Centre has also asked the states to submit an action plan to stop transportation of illegal ore, be it through railways or ships.

As the Centre is planning to issue nationwide guidelines to curb illegal mining, it is keen that the states should submit their proposals in this regard soon. Following the sudden spurt of prices of ore in international market coupled with illegal mining, the ministry is now keen to keep a tab on this sector so that it could revise the royalty rates to ensure that the exchequer gets revenue.

With the ministry receiving a number of complaints about mushrooming of illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, it offered to help investigate the matter, including a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). While Andhra Pradesh has ordered a CBI probe into illegal mining in Ananthpur district, Karnataka is yet to respond to the Centre’s offer.

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