State empowered committees to monitor concession system

Seeking to address the issue of illegal mining practices, the Mines Ministry has drawn up plans to tighten state-level governance machinery for eradicating delays in the grant of mineral concessions.

The government also decided to tackle the issue of illegal mining as identified by experts. It has been felt that illegal mining is the major reason why the growth in the country's mineral production in value terms dipped to 10 per cent last financial year from 17 per cent in 2005-06.

The Government decided to set up state empowered committees and district-level task forces to monitor concession system, giving more powers to state mining directorates and faster environment clearances.

These decisions were taken at a meeting of the Central Coordination-cum-Empowered Committee of the Mines Ministry chaired by Mining Secretary Vijay Kumar. The measures are expected to bring greater transparency.

Other issues discussed in the meeting include use of satellite imagery to help curb illegal mining through detection of lease area violations and plugging loopholes in the royalty collection system.

The recent spurt in illegal mining activities has led the Supreme Court to impose a blanket ban on all iron ore mining activities in Karnataka, the main iron ore producing states.

Some of the important issues that came up for discussions included action taken to curb illegal mining including use of satellite imagery; plugging loopholes in the royalty collection system; strengthening governance by gearing up the State Mining Directorates and expediting approval including forest clearance cases to clear long pending mineral concession applications.

It was also decided to prepare an action plan to ensure end-to-end accounting system for mineral transaction to prevent and detect illegal mining through an all-India online system and ensuring proper exploration in leasehold areas in a time-bound way to enable execution of mining plans in a scientific manner. Presentations were also made by Ernest & Young on Mining Tenement System; E-Connect Solution Pvt. Ltd., Udaipur, on the online management system developed by them for the Rajasthan Government; and by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on their new software on forest clearance that is proposed to be launched shortly.

Keywords: miningminerals

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