Spectre of illegal mining looms over India – by Ajoy K Das (MiningWeekly.com – June 22, 2015)


Kolkata (miningweekly.com) – Is illegal mining rearing its head in India again?

The concern has moved centre stage following the murder of a journalist in the central province of Madhya Pradesh for opposing the mining mafia and moving the courts against illegal mining.

Even though three people, all involved in illegal manganese mining and part of the mining mafia in the region, have been arrested on charges of murder, sections within the federal and provincial governments have expressed concern about whether the murder was an isolated incident or whether it signalled the re-emergence of the mining mafia despite changes in legislation and stringent punitive action.

Data collated from Indian Bureau of Mines showed that provincial governments had filed 727 cases during the past year following the inspection of 2 427 operational mines. The courts upheld charges in the cases of 25 mines.

Of the mines inspected, as many as 1 347 were operating in violation of the newly promulgated Mines Minerals Development and Regulation Act (MMDRA) 2015 and 357 mines had their mining licences cancelled over the past year.

Several apparently isolated reports from across the country were pointers that while illegal mining had not assumed the alarming proportions of a few years ago, when mining operations in the provinces of Goa, Karnataka and Odisha were banned under court orders, the number of violations of mining laws and resultant law and order issues were on the rise.

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