Centre convenes meeting on illegal mining on Sep 21

"We have called a meeting with the state governments to discuss the issue of illegal mining and on iron ore exports," Mines Minister B K Handique told reporters on the sidelines of the 44th Annual General Meeting of the apex miners body FIMI.

Official sources said that Mines Secretaries from states like Karnataka, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Goa will take part in the meeting, which may also decide the future strategy to curb illegal mining of minerals like iron ore and their exports.

Of late, the issue of illegal mining has been in the limelight, especially in the mineral rich states like Karnataka, Orissa and Jharkhand.

The concerns over the issue has gained further ground after the Reddy brothers, Karunakar and Janardhan Reddy, Ministers in the Karnataka government were allegedly found to be involved in illegal mining.

Karnataka, the second-largest iron ore producing state in the country, banned exports of the commodity from 10 ports in July. Last week, the state government had told the Karnataka High Court that half of the miners in the state are involved in illegal activities.

The issue, even figured prominently in the just concluded Monsoon session of Parliament, in which MPs cutting across party lines, had voiced their concerns over the issue.

"We have called the meeting following the concerns raised by the MPs in both the houses of Parliament," Handique said.

In the wake of the widespread illegal mining, the Centre had announced to set up a commission for finding a solution.

India, the world's third largest iron ore exporter, produced 218 million tonnes of iron ore in 2009-10 fiscal and exported 128 million tonnes.

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