Minerals worth Rs. 226.04 crores were illegally mined in various States across the country during the previous fiscal, according to findings of the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), which monitors and prevents such unlawful activities.
In 2010-11 fiscal year, 14,204 cases of illegal mining over an extent of 43.584 lakh tonnes valued at Rs. 71.52 crores (in case of major minerals) was detected. In 775 cases, FIRs were lodged with authorities and legal proceedings have been launched in 514 cases.
Also, fine to the tune of Rs. 122.33-crore was realised from the defaulters, official sources said on Tuesday.
Similarly in case of minor minerals, 77,431 cases of illegal mining were reported over an extent of 34.427 lakh tonnes worth Rs. 154.52 crores in various States. About 766 cases (FIR) were lodged with police and court proceedings initiated in 9,078 cases. Here too, penalty to the tune of Rs. 143.94 crore has been recovered from defaulters, they said.
The Centre through IBM constituted a task force and conducted inspection of mines in endemic areas by taking the help of satellite imageries. The inspections were mandatory in the wake of compliance of Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 1988.
IBM Controller General, C.S. Gundewar told PTI that inspections were conducted between December 2009 and March 2011 in Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odissa.
He said about 434 mines comprising minerals like Iron, Ore, Manganese Ore, Dolomite, Limestone, Bauxite were inspected by the task force.
Following this, IBM suspended mining operations in 150 mines and recommended suspension of mining leases in nine cases to respective State governments.
Quoting Section 23C of the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, the Centre has issued directives to respective State governments to issue official notifications in the gazette to make rules for preventing illegal mining, its transportation and storage.
Besides, the Centre also advised them to establish check posts for checking of minerals under transit, set up weigh bridges to measure quantity of minerals that are being transported and inspection, checking and search of minerals right at the place of excavation.
State governments were requested to set up district and State-level task force to curb illegal mining since year 2005. But so far only 21 States in the country have complied with the directives, official sources said.
As part of the major drive the Union Government also decided to have better co-ordination with Railways, Ports and Customs on preventing export of illegally mined minerals.
The State governments were armed with Section 100 of CrPC which empowers States to conduct a search under warrant, sources said.
The government has realised a total of Rs. 266.28 crore as penalty imposed on illegal mining, they added.
The headline of this report has been changed for clarity