Skip to main content

Spike in illegal mining: "Model" Gujarat competes with Left-ruled Kerala, sees 28% rise in 2017, 107% since 2010

By Rajiv Shah
Latest official figures suggest that “model” Gujarat appears to be competing with Left-ruled Kerala in the spike in illegal mining cases. One of the top four Indian states which have witnessed a spike in illegal mining cases in 2017, Gujarat saw a 28.1% rise in illegal cases in a year, from 6,499 to 8,325, as against Kerala’s saw of a 31.34% rise from from 3,701 to 4,861.
The other two states, which saw a rise in illegal mining cases are Madhya Pradesh, by 1.86%, from 13,627 to 13,880, and Rajasthan 7.76%, from 3,661 to 3,945.
The data further show that, between 2010 and 2017, while “model” Gujarat saw 41,699 illegal mining cases, the rise over the years has been stupendous. In 2009, in Gujarat, 4,020 illegal mining cases were reported, which rose to 8,325, a whopping 107.09% rise.
The report also reveals that of Gujarat’s 6,499 illegal mining cases reported in 2016, FIRs were lodged in just 84 cases.
Revealing this, an authoritative report, based in data provided in Parliament, says, “Mining is considered illegal when it is done without a license or outside the licensed area and when more than the permissible amount is extracted.”
Coming down heavily on illegal mining, the Supreme Court in August 2017, had said that mining companies, which operated without environmental clearance, should pay compensation equivalent to 100% of the value of the minerals extracted illegally. Following the verdict, in February 2018, the apex court quashed all 88 mining leases in Goa 'hastily' renewed by the state government in 2015 to "benefit private mining leaseholders".
Pointing out that these “these developments point to poor governance and resource management across the country”, the report, authored by Lalit Maurya, Sobhojit Goswami and Isha Bajpai, says, if one takes into account illegal mining cases since 2009, Maharashtra “tops the list of states”, witnessing a “28 per cent increase from 26,283 in 2009-10 to 33,621 in 2015-16.”
Interestingly, according to the report, published in the top environmental journal “Down to Earth”, in December 2017, despite rise in illegal mining, the Government of India proposed giving more power to states to grant environmental clearance, which suggests it was seeking to shed responsibility.
The report insists, “While the intention may be to decentralise the process of environmental clearance, capacity and accountability remain a problem. State-level clearance authorities neither have the capacity to handle increased work load, nor is there a system of accountability in place to ensure transparency in how clearances are issued.”
Against this backdrop, the report regrets, “Mining in India is a scam bigger than 2G and Commonwealth Games but has failed to catch people's attention because of difficulty in linking it with big political names, its eventual beneficiaries. It is difficult to estimate the loss to public exchequer because of illegal mining across states.”
Pointing out that since 2009, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu are the only four states that have registered a decline in illegal mining, the report states, “With a drop in 5,827 illegal mining cases since 2009-10, Andhra Pradesh has fared the best among all states when it comes to numbers.”
It adds, “However, Odisha has covered maximum ground by reducing the number of cases by more than 90 per cent, from 487 in 2009-10 to just 45 in 2016-17.”
The report also points to the fact that West Bengal has seen more than 400% increase in illegal mining from 113 cases in 2009-10 to 575 in 2015-16, and Jharkhand saw a massive surge in illegal mining between 2009-10 and 2015-16 from just 15 to 1,645.
At the same time, the report states, 2015-16 has so far been the worst year during this seven-year period with the nationwide illegal mining cases witnessing a sharp spike from 69,316 in 2009-10 to 110,476”, adding, “Uttar Pradesh, which reached its peak during 2015-16 (11,575 cases), brought the number of cases down to 5,737 within a year.”
The report further says, “Within a year, Haryana managed to reduce illegal mining cases by more than 66%. In 2015-16, it had 3,912 cases, which came down to 1,345 in 2016-17. Jharkhand stood second in achieving this feat by registering more than 50 per cent decrease -- from 1,645 in 2015-16 to 694 in 2016-17.”
The report states, “India, one of the world's largest producers and exporters of mica, coal, iron ore, bauxite and manganese, has long been grappling with illegal mining, primarily in Karnataka, Goa, Haryana, Rajasthan and Odisha, ever since it opened up mining to private companies in the 1990s.”
It adds, “From soil erosion and groundwater contamination to loss of forest cover and biodiversity, unbridled mining plays havoc with an ecosystem. But despite this, prosecution rate is very low in such cases.”
“For example”, the report notes, “Maharashtra recorded 1,39,706 illegal mining cases between 2013 and 2017 -- the highest in the country -- but only 712 first information reports (FIR) and one court case were filed.”

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Joblessness, saffronisation, corporatisation of education: BJP 'squarely responsible'

Counterview Desk  In an open appeal to youth and students across India, several student and youth organizations from across India have said that the ruling party is squarely accountable for the issues concerning the students and the youth, including expensive education and extensive joblessness.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Following the 3000-year old Pharaoh legacy? Poll-eve Surya tilak on Ram Lalla statue

By Sukla Sen  Located at a site called Abu Simbel in Nubia, Upper Egypt, the eponymous rock temples were created in 1244 BCE, under the orders of Pharaoh Ramesses II (1303-1213 BC)... Ramesses II was fond of showcasing his achievements. It was this desire to brag about his victory that led to the planning and eventual construction of the temples (interestingly, historians say that the Battle of Qadesh actually ended in a draw based on the depicted story -- not quite the definitive victory Ramesses II was making it out to be).

Why it's only Modi ki guarantee, not BJP's, and how Varanasi has seen it up-close

"Development" along Ganga By Rosamma Thomas*  I was in Varanasi in this April, days before polling began for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. There are huge billboards advertising the Member of Parliament from Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The only image on all these large hoardings is of the PM, against a saffron background. It is as if the very person of Modi is what his party wishes to showcase.