After the raging debate on illegal mining in Karnataka and Goa, the Union mines ministry has amended the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, to help state governments to crack the whip against those convicted for illegal mining.
The amendment carried out by inserting two sections, in rule 26 after sub-rule (3) and rule 27 after sub-rule (4), empowers state governments to cancel mining leases if the same are convicted for illegal mining, and also to reject any renewal applications of previously convicted leases.
“This amendment will strengthen the hands of the directorate of mines in tackling issues of illegal mining,” mines director Prasanna Acharya told STOI.
After the inquiry by the Shah Commission uncovered massive illegal mining activities in Karnataka and led to the resignation of chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, the row also erupted in Goa after allegations of rampant illegal mining gained momentum. The Shah Commission also commenced an inquiry in the state, though its interim report submitted to the mines ministry is yet to be made public.
Environmentalists showed mixed reaction to the amendment.
Reacting to the decision, environmentalist Ramesh Gauns “It is a good but belated decision after illegal mining has almost finished the resources,” said Ramesh Gauns, a Bicholim-based social activist.
He was skeptical about the implementation of the new rule. “It remains to be seen how the Goa government, which is involved in illegal mining and is working under pressure from the mining lobby, follows the new rule,” Gauns said. Politicians can use the threat of action against illegal mining leases to increase their bargaining power for gains, he alleged.
Courtesy : TOI