Around 98.87 lakh tonnes of minerals, worth ₹204.50 crore, were illegally excavated in five districts of Rajasthan between 2011-12 and 2016-17. The mining had not only violated the rules and regulations but also flouted the Supreme Court’s direction to stop the degradation of environment in the Aravalli hills.
In its report on the economic sector for the financial year ended March 31, 2017, tabled in the Assembly on Tuesday, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had pulled up the State government for the illegal mining, while pointing out that the Mines Department could recover only ₹25.57 crore against the total recoverable amount of ₹204.50 crore.
There were inadequacies in preventive measures as well as in the follow-up of the illegal cases detected, while the delay in issuing notices for recovery of penal amount removed the scope for deterrence, said the CAG. Besides, the policy measures framed in 2011 for curbing illegal mining were not implemented.
“We noticed serious violations of the Supreme Court’s orders, as mining leases falling in the Aravalli mountain range were granted, renewed and extended. Besides, the Ministry of Environment and Forest also granted environment clearance for mining lease despite the area falling in Aravalli hills,” it said.
The districts where illegal mining took place during five years were Alwar, Jaipur, Sikar, Rajsamand and Udaipur. The CAG said that though nine mining engineers’ offices in these districts had registered 4,072 cases of illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals, they could make a negligible recovery.