The Union Ministry of Mines has asked the State Government to submit a status report on setting up of a special anti-extortion and anti-money laundering cell to prevent the nexus between illegal mining, forest contractors and extremists as per the recommendations of the second Administrative Reforms Commission by October 31.
This was discussed at the central coordination-cum-empowered committee meeting on mineral development and regulation held in New Delhi recently. It was decided that the issue should be discussed at the meeting of the State coordination-cum-empowered committee for its early resolution.
Action taken by the state governments for curbing illegal mining was reviewed at the meeting. It was observed that quarterly report on number cases of illegal mining detected and action taken by the state governments till June, 2012 had been given only by Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The Ministry of Mines has asked rest of the states, including Odisha, to submit the report immediately and the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) directed to monitor the issue. The state governments were also requested to review the strengthening of the state directorates of mining and geology.
According to sources, the representative of the Odisha government said the comments of the State Government on assessing and levying royalty on higher value of iron ore lump/processed form of lump/iron ore fines generated during processing of iron ore has been sent to the Ministry recently. It was decided that the issue will be discussed in the next monitoring committee meeting of the IBM. As decided in the previous meetings of the central empowered committee (CEC) all state governments had to send a list of cases awaiting forest clearance to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), for follow-up action.
It was noted that the governments of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Rajasthan had sent their lists to the Ministry of Mines which were forwarded to the MoEF. All other state governments were asked to send their lists directly to the MoEF under intimation to the Ministry to follow-up the matter expeditiously.