India to Form New Mining Regulator
Source: Commodity Online (7/18/11)
"Independent regulator will aim to track down increased illegal mining in the country.
India has decided to formulate an independent regulator, aimed at tracking down increased illegal mining in the country.
The decision in this regard was taken by an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) formed to iron out inter-ministerial differences on the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR Bill 2011).
The new regulator will be vested with the power to investigate such cases and launch prosecution.
The ministerial panel also recommended the establishment of similar authorities by state governments at their level to curb illegal mining, as per an official document.
It said the authority, besides keeping a close vigil on illegal mining and reviewing sectoral issues will also advise the government on policy and strategy, including royalty rates.
Asking the Mines Ministry to prepare a fresh draft of the Bill, the panel directed it to "place it (MMDR Bill, 2011) before the Cabinet for approval at the earliest, so that the Bill can be introduced in the Monsoon session of Parliament."
Concerned over increasing instances of illegal mining in 11 mineral-rich states, the Centre has already asked all state governments to constitute high-level committees to crack down on the menace.
At present, there are not enough legal provisions for central intervention when illegal mining takes place in states.
The magnitude of the problem is such that as many as 42,000 cases of violation were detected in the states last year.
Once the authority comes into force, the Centre would be able to terminate the lease of miners indulging in illegal mining in case the states do not act against the perpetrators.