CAG picks holes in Tamil Nadu government’s management of minerals

The Tamil Nadu government did not have a response system in place to act upon the detection of illegal mining activities, the report said.

September 17, 2020 12:22 am | Updated 12:22 am IST - CHENNAI

The non-utilisation of the Online Mining Tenement Registry System (OMTRS) resulted in pit mouth violations in 42 cases, involving minerals worth ₹1,586 crore, said a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on the revenue sector for the year ended March 31, 2018, tabled in the State Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

“During the exercise, it was found that the potential loss on account of non-recovery of cost of the mineral was ₹1,586 crore in 42 cases involving an area of 99.13 hectares in Salem and Tirunelveli districts. Due to non-furnishing of mining plans, the audit could not estimate the cost of mineral recoverable in 22 cases of pit violations, involving 76.06 hectares,” it said.

The Tamil Nadu government did not have a response system in place to act upon the detection of illegal mining activities, it said. The OMTRS was very vital for transparency and to check illicit mining, had not been implemented in all districts and the department did not utilise even the existing data, it pointed out.

There was no coordination between the Department and allied agencies such as the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Director-General of Mines Safety, it contended and added that the department did not use new technologies for better administration of minerals.

The CAG report recommended that the exploration activities in already identified projects may be expedited and fresh explorations may be prioritised through a mineral policy.

Adequate measures may be contemplated using OMTRS mappings and other technological innovations to check and prevent leakage of vital mineral resources due to illegal mining and also to establish a quick response system to take prompt action on information about illegal activities, it said.

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