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Mining mired in illegalities


Mining in India is a scam bigger than 2G and Commonwealth Games but has
failed to catch people's attention because of difficulty in linking it with
big political names, its eventual beneficiaries. It is difficult to estimate
the loss to public exchequer because of illegal mining across states

 

A sand yard near Garhmukteshwar, about 40 miles east of Greater Noida. Photo Credit George Georgiou for The New York Times


Mining is considered illegal when it is done without a license or outside the licensed area and when more than the permissible amount is extracted. In August 2017, Supreme Court passed a strong verdict asking mining companies, which operated without environmental clearance, to pay compensation equivalent to 100 per cent of the value of the minerals extracted illegally. In February 2018, the Supreme Court quashed all 88 mining leases in Goa 'hastily' renewed by the state government in 2015 to "benefit private mining leaseholders".

All these developments point to poor governance and resource management across the country,
be it Keonjhar in Odisha or Bellary in Karnataka.

Data Source:
✿  Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1792, dated on 10.12.2012,
✿  Lok Sabha Starred Question No. 93, dated on 14.07.2014,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 158, dated on 30.11.2015,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2671, dated on 14.03.2016,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2994, dated on 03.08.2017



Did you know? Maharashtra tops the list of states, registering highest number of illegal mining cases from 2009-10 to 2016-17, witnessing a 28 per cent increase from 26,283 in 2009-10 to 33,621 in 2015-16

✿  Map shows the changes in illegal mining between two time scales, 2009-10 and 2015-16, hover over the states to see details

Hurdles towards curbing illegal mining

In December 2017, the Centre proposed giving more power to states to grant environmental clearance. While the intention may be to decentralise the process of environmental clearance, capacity and accountability remain a problem. State-level clearance authorities neither have the capacity to handle increased work load, nor is there a system of accountability in place to ensure transparency in how clearances are issued.

✿  Graph shows the state of illegal mining in different states between 2009-17 , hover over the states to see details


Did you know? Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu are the only four states that have registered a decline in illegal mining. With a drop in 5,827 illegal mining cases since 2009-10, Andhra Pradesh has fared the best among all states when it comes to numbers. However, Odisha has covered maximum ground by reducing the number of cases by more than 90 per cent, from 487 in 2009-10 to just 45 in 2016-17.

State-wise trend



✿  See how the trend of illegal mining change by states , hover over the lines to see details
  ❶   West Bengal has seen more than 400 per cent increase in illegal mining from 113 cases in 2009-10 to 575 in 2015-16

❷   Jharkhand saw a massive surge in illegal mining between 2009-10 and 2015-16 from just 15 to 1,645.

❸   Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu are the only four states that have registered a decline in illegal mining. With a drop in 5,827 illegal mining cases since 2009-10, Andhra Pradesh has fared the best among all states when it comes to numbers. However, Odisha has covered maximum ground by reducing the number of cases by more than 90 per cent, from 487 in 2009-10 to just 45 in 2016-17.

❹   FY 2015-16, has so far been the worst year during this seven-year period with the nationwide illegal mining cases witnessing a sharp spike from 69,316 in 2009-10 to 110,476.

❺   Uttar Pradesh, which reached its peak during 2015-16 (11,575 cases), brought the number of cases down to 5,737 within a year.

❻   Within a year, Haryana managed to reduce illegal mining cases by more than 66 per cent. In 2015-16, it had 3,912 cases, which came down to 1,345 in 2016-17. Jharkhand stood second in achieving this feat by registering more than 50 per cent decrease—from 1,645 in 2015-16 to 694 in 2016-17

❼   Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are the only four states where the number of illegal mining cases saw a spike in the last one year.

Data Source:
✿  Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1792, dated on 10.12.2012,
✿  Lok Sabha Starred Question No. 93, dated on 14.07.2014,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 158, dated on 30.11.2015,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2671, dated on 14.03.2016,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2994, dated on 03.08.2017


Need for an effective National Mineral Policy

India, one of the world's largest producers and exporters of mica, coal, iron ore, bauxite and manganese, has long been grappling with illegal mining, primarily in Karnataka, Goa, Haryana, Rajasthan and Odisha, ever since it opened up mining to private companies in the 1990s. From soil erosion and groundwater contamination to loss of forest cover and biodiversity, unbridled mining plays havoc with an ecosystem. But despite this, prosecution rate is very low in such cases. For example, Maharashtra recorded 139,706 illegal mining cases between 2013 and 2017—the highest in the country—but only 712 first information reports (FIR) and one court case were filed.

Prosecution rate and financial loss in India (2015-16)

107,609 169 132,652 6,033 19,625 38,071
No. of Cases of
illegal mining in 2015-16
Quantum of Mineral, Ore Excavated/
Stacked/Transported
(In Lakh Tonne)
Value of Mineral/ Ore
(Rs. in Lakh)
FIR Lodged
(No.)
Court Cases Filled
(No.)
Fine Realized
(Rs. in Lakh)

 

light of rampant illegal mining, the Supreme Court, in August 2017, directed the Centre to revise the National Mineral Policy by December 2017. The existing policy, according to the court, “seems to be only on paper and is not being enforced perhaps due to the involvement of very powerful vested interests or a failure of nerve". The court directed that the new policy should be “fresh and more effective, meaningful and implementable”.


Data Source:
✿  Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1792, dated on 10.12.2012,
✿  Lok Sabha Starred Question No. 93, dated on 14.07.2014,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 158, dated on 30.11.2015,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2671, dated on 14.03.2016,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2994, dated on 03.08.2017,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 569, dated on 24.02.2009,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 12, dated on 23.02.2010,
✿  Lok Sabha Starred Question No. 22, dated on 27.07.2010,
✿  Lok Sabha Starred Question No. 104, dated on 16.11.2010,
✿  Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1960, dated on 14.03.2011,
✿  Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 865, dated on 08.08.2011,
✿  Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1345, dated on 26.03.2012,
✿  Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 317, dated on 03.09.2012,
✿  Rajya Sabha Starred Question No. 184, dated on 5.12.2011,
✿  Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India,
✿  Lok Sabha Starred Question No. 18, dated on 02.02.2017,
✿  Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1792, dated on 10.12.2012,
✿  Lok Sabha Starred Question No. 93, dated on 14.07.2014,
✿  Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 158, dated on 30.11.2015,
✿  Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1792, dated on 10.12.2012



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