Jharkhand loses over Rs.1 bn to illegal mining: Report

June 18th, 2008 - 3:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, June 18 (IANS) The Jharkhand government and coal companies suffer a loss of Rs.106 crore (Rs.1.06 billion) every year due to illegal mining in the state, says a report. A report released by the mines and geology department Wednesday says that 45,000 people are involved in illegal mining. “Illegal mining reduces by seven years the life span of illegal miners and people who ferry coal on bicycle,” says the report.

The report claims that the people involved in ferrying coal on bicycle pay Rs.5.56 crore (Rs.50.56 million) every year as bribe to the security personnel and other people. Every day, 7,515 tonnes of coal is extracted and transported this way illegally — totalling 1.37 million tonnes in a year.

Three nationalised coal subsidiaries operate in Jharkhand. These are Central Coalfield Limited (CCL), Bharat Coking Coalfield Limited (BCCL) and Eastern Coalfield Limited (ECL).

The report says that illegal mining takes place in 95 lease-hold areas of BCCL, 31 areas of CCL and 19 areas of ECL.

“People are associating with illegal mining due to poverty, illiteracy and absence of employment opportunities. Displacement is another reason which forces people to work as illegal miner,” says the report.

“There is need for the different wings like the police, and the mines and geology department administration to work together to stop illegal mining in the state. If needed, take action against people involved in illegal mining,” said state Chief Secretary A.K. Basu in a meeting of the state-level task force to discuss the illegal mining of minerals and their transportation.

According to the mines and geology department, 62 First Information Reports (FIR) were registered in 2007-08 for illegal mining while 153 FIRs were registered in 2006-07. In 2006-07, FIRs were lodged against 510 people and 356 people were arrested.

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