State government to take steps to curb illegal mining

Permits for mining only to contractors, ore processing units

Henceforth, permits for establishing mining stockyards will be granted only to mining contractors and owners of ore processing units.

Traders, middlemen and other business persons have been barred from establishing mining stockyards. In a Government Order dated August 13, the state government has cancelled the stockyard permits already issued to traders with immediate effect. Only permits issued to mining contractors and ore processing units owners will remain valid.

The government’s move to keep traders out of stockyard business is based on the recommendation of the Lokayukta. The GO notes that the Lokayukta in its interim report on illegal mining -- submitted to the government in December 2008 -- had pointed out that allowing traders to run stockyards was one of the reasons for stocking of illegally mined ore. The Lokayukta had also noticed several irregularities in the grant of stockyard licenses. Further, no accountability was vested with the permit holder.

The state government, in its latest order, has specified new norms for running mining stockyards. Henceforth, the stockyard permit holder will be held accountable for the stocking of ore.

 An account of the stock of ore, source of origin and transport permits should be maintained. If the requirements of law are not complied, then action will initiated against the permit holder as per the provisions of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules 1960.

The applicant should be registered as an industrial establishment with the Department of Industries and Commerce. Clearance Certificate from Karnataka State Pollution Control Board is also necessary.  An affidavit stating that the applicant has not been convicted in any case of illegal mining should also be executed. Besides, land conversion documents, Income Tax clearance as well as Value Added Registration (VAT) registration should be furnished by the applicant. The permit will be valid for five years.

Tightening of the stockyard norms comes close on the heels of the government’s decision to ban iron-ore export and stopping issuance of permits for transport of ore for exports. On Wednesday, the state government had announced the setting up of an inter-departmental Special Cell to curb illegal mining.

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