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Issue 28
, 2010
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Govt: GoM looking into illegal mining

Source: The Asian Age, Date: , 2010

The Centre has informed the Parliament that a group of ministers, among others, is looking at regulatory deficiencies regarding illegal mining in the country.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha on the issue, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said “The honest truth is that we do not have effective regulatory system to deal with illegal mining.” A GoM is among other things looking at regulatory deficiencies in dealing with illegal mining, he said.

Mr Ramesh also informed the House that his ministry is investigating alleged violation of forest laws by Vedanta Co and Korean steel maker Posco in Orissa. He said a four-member expert group is currently in Orissa looking at all cases of alleged violation by Vedanta Co.
On the issue of illegal mining in Karnataka, the minister said he had written to chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on July 3 pointing out “gross violation (of the Forest Conservation Act) by private iron ore mining companies” in the forest area of Sandur near Bellary. The chief minister has “promised to take action against illegal mining,” he said, adding that the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 does not empower his ministry to take action.
On the issue of alleged illegal mining of iron ore in Obulapuram on the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border, the minister said Survey of India has been asked to do a survey of the disputed territory.
He said based on the survey, “if there is any violation of forest conservation act, we will take action.”

The minister also informed the House that permission for three power projects and one aluminium smelter refinery in Andhra Pradesh has been suspended on the ground of violation of environmental laws.