To control the menace of illegal mining, special task forces conducted inspections of 454 mines in mineral rich areas and suspended 155 leases for violation of norms, the government said on Friday.

“Special task forces conducted inspections in a total of 454 mines in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Gujarat and suspended 155 mines under Mineral Conservation and Development Rules due to serious violations,” Mines Minister Dinsha Patel told the Rajya Sabha.

Besides, Indian Bureau of Mines has recommended termination of eight leases, Mr. Patel said, adding the Centre has taken a number of steps to prevent illegal mining and was in regular touch with the state governments.

To another question he replied that the Centre has also set up an Inquiry Commission and asking states to make action plans to curb illegal mining.

The country has witnessed a spurt in illegal mining with 69,337 cases recorded in 2011 while the number of such cases in 2010 was 73,115 and in 2009 were 41,578.

Mr. Patel said this year 25,713 cases were recorded by March while the government has realised a fine to the tune of Rs 755 crore from illegal miners besides seizing 2,20,085 vehicles used in them.

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