Centre convenes all states meet to check illegal mining

Besides seeking a consensus between states for strategically curtailing such mining, it has asked the Indian Railways to check movement of minerals like iron ore through its services.

"We have convened a meeting of the states this month to ensure that the state governments initiate proper steps to check illegal mining and transportation of minerals. I have also written a letter to the Railways Board Chairman in this regard," Mines Secretary Santha Sheela Nair told PTI.

"While some states have initiated measures like satellite imagery and bar coding of the produce to check illegal mining of minerals and their transportation, others have failed to take steps. The issue is serious and we are holding periodic meetings on this," she said.

Meanwhile, the Mines Ministry, in a letter to the Railways, has asked it to evolve a mechanism to check illegal transportation of minerals in the wake of reports that several rakes were being used in the movement of illegally mined iron ores in Orissa.
In the letter sent to Railway Board chairman S S Khurana on Monday, Nair said, "The state government has reported that between January 1-22, 2010, out of 181 rakes, only 56 rakes were carrying authorised material from the Banspani and Juridih stations." According to sources, the state government had seized "more than 60,000 tonnes of iron ore from Jurudi railway siding and more than 30,000 tonnes from Banspani".

Reports that the state government had imposed Section 144 under the CrPC and suspended storage and loading licences and seized several rakes in some stations for transporting illegally extracted minerals also found mention in the letter.Stressing the need for evolving an effective mechanism to check the illegal transportation of minerals via the Railways, the letter states, "We are of the opinion that the proposed mechanism should necessarily involve checking that royalty has been paid for the mineral sought to be transported and the name of the mine and other details are clearly indicated."

"Please have the matter examined for the issue of appropriate directions for the purpose and intimate us as well as the state governments in this regard,"  it adds.
Last month, the Orissa government had issued orders for banning the loading of ore rakes in private railway sidings in the Banspani and Jaruli areas and also Joda East, under the Chakradharpur division of the Southeastern railways, in a move to curb the transport of illegally mined ore through the railways.

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