In a step aimed at curbing illegal mining, the government on Tuesday said it will put in place an online system by December which will register all mineral-related transactions in the country.
The development comes in the wake of an alarming increase in illegal mining in various states. The government has recorded 24,405 cases of illegal mining in January-March 2011, almost 30 % of the cases in the entire 2010.
"We are going to introduce an end-to-end accounting system by the end of this year for all mineral transactions including mining, selling, transportation and export by miners, traders and exporters. This will check illegal mining," mines secretary S Vijay Kumar told PTI.
Under the online system, registration of miners, traders and exporters of major minerals like iron ore, lime and bauxite will be a must, Vijay Kumar, who chaired a high-level meeting of senior Central and State government officials to expedite mineral concessions and check illegal mining, said.
The registration will be done under the Mineral Conservation Development Rules (MCDR) by amending it. At present, there are not enough legal provisions for the central intervention in illegal mining in states, but the magnitude of the problem is so high that as many as 82,330 cases were detected in 2010, almost double the 41,578 cases unearthed in 2009.
The Central Coordination-cum-Empowered Committee (CEC) in its meeting on Tuesday also decided that the government will use satellite imagery to curb the menace. States have been asked to curb illegal mining by improving monitoring of the mineral system through empowered committees and district level task forces and plugging loopholes in the royalty collection system.
The committee also reviewed the position regarding various important aspects of the mineral concession regime in the country, and stressed the need for bringing about more efficiency and transparency in the system.
The meeting was attended by representatives from ministries of environment and forests, defence, home affairs, steel, civil aviation, railway, shipping, finance. Officials from the Indian Bureau of Mines and Geological Survey of India also participated in the meeting.
Representatives of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu were also present.