The Rajasthan government on Monday unveiled the draft of a new mineral policy, bringing in stringent measures to “prevent and control illegal mining” in the state which contributes nine per cent of the country’s output.
Officials acknowledged that illegal mining was one of the biggest problems facing the sector, causing loss of crores of rupees to the government every year.
In its December 16 edition, the HT had reported about a mining cartel which has held up an Army missile launch base in Alwar district by instigating villagers against the project.
Officials said that the draft mineral policy 2015 – now open to suggestions — has incorporated stringent provisions against illegal mining by enhancing the quantum of punishment and fine.
“In order to act as a strong deterrent to such illegal mining, present provision of imprisonment for 2 years will be increased to 5 years and a fine of maximum 25,000 will be increased to `5 lakh,” the draft said.
The policy also focuses on utilising the unexplored mineral reserves of the state on public private partnership (PPP) model.
According to the officials, a mineral advisory committee will periodically review implementation of the policy. The draft mentioned the state’s status as a “virtual treasure trove of minerals of indescribable qualities and potential”.
Officials said during 2013-14, the state earned revenue of `3,088.66 crore with crude oil alone accounting for `5,953 crore.
The government has also decided to start a three-year diploma course in mining in Chittorgarh.