Major minerals: Illegal mining in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat shoots up

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Out of the top 12 mineral-rich states in the country, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have witnessed a significant increase in the number of illegal mining cases for major minerals between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

According to the data released by the Ministry of Mines on Tuesday, the number of illegal mining cases increased in the three states by 33.6 per cent, 52.8 per cent and 106.4 per cent, respectively. In India, the classifications of ‘minor minerals’ and ‘major minerals’ have been done according to Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. Minerals such as coal, lignite and iron ore are considered as ‘major minerals’.

The number of illegal mining cases for major minerals in Madhya Pradesh was 6,725 in 2013-14, which more than doubled to 13,880 in 2016-17. Gujarat’s illegal mining cases increased from 5,447 in 2013-14 to 8,325 in 2016-17, while Rajasthan witnessed 2,953 cases in 2013-14, which increased to 3,945 in 2016-17.

On the other hand, a couple of states showed improvement too. Jharkhand’s illegal mining cases decreased by 23 per cent in between 2013-14 and 2016-17. In case of Tamil Nadu, numbers decreased from 1,078 in 2013-14 to just 56 in 2016-17. The other seven mineral-rich states that were included in the Mines Ministry analysis were Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana.

According to the data, Tamil Nadu lodged total 10,734 FIRs against alleged illegal miners in between April 2013 and September 2017, the most among the 12 mineral-rich states. The state also realised illegal mining fine of Rs 122.85 crore in between April 2013 and September 2017. During the same time period, Madhya Pradesh realised fine of Rs 1,132.06 crore, making it the top state in terms of fine collection.

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