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CAG report takes the lid off illegal mining in Rajasthan

jaipur Updated: Feb 27, 2018 21:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan news,Illegal mining,CAG report

The Comptroller and Auditor General report, tabled in the Rajasthan assembly, showed that the ministry of environment and forest granted clearance for mining leases in the Aravali hills.(HT File Photo)

Violating Supreme Court’s orders against mining in the Aravali mountain range, the mines department granted, renewed and extended leases, said the CAG report for 2017.

The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General tabled in the state assembly showed that the ministry of environment and forest granted environment clearance for mining leases though the areas were part of the Aravali hills.

The report said environmental issues related to mining were not given attention by the department and Rajasthan State Pollution Board.

The inspection report of the department did not focus on environmental issues. The CAG report said that of the 136 leases selected by mining engineers, ’the pollution board inspected only 38 between 2010 and 2017. As many as 136 leaseholders have not submitted reports, and 118 had not submitted the annual environment statements.

CAG observed that illegal mining activities were rampant in the state and there were inadequacies in preventing illegal mining. “There was lack of deterrence due to delay in issue of notices raising demand and recovery of the penal amount from illegal miners. Also, there was slackness in implementing policy measures to curb illegal mining.”

The inspections revealed deficiencies in fulfilling environmental conditions relating to topsoil, overburden dumps, plantation, construction of garland drain, air pollution control measures, noise pollution control , reclamation and rehabilitation measures, said the CAG report.

Mandatory financial assurance amount was not reportedly recovered from four leaseholders who were operating the mines and 20 leaseholders whose leases were cancelled or surrendered. The deposited lease amount of 20 leaseholders could not be spent in the absence of clear directions. Only 25.81% of the environment and health cess was spent during 2011-2017, the report said.

The department also collected environment management fund of Rs 295.03 crore, which was not utilised in absence of any guidelines.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 21:49 IST