|Introduction: Contextual introduction.|
Body: Write some reasons and implications of the prevalence of illegal mining in India. Also write some measures to tackle it.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.
Illegal mining is a perennial problem in India. The problem of illegal mining of minor minerals is often under-estimated, thus accentuating undesired environmental consequences. There have been numerous cases of the illegal mining of dolomite, marble and sand across States.
Reasons of the illegal mining:
- There is a lack of coordination within the Ministry of Environment and forests that led to the illegalities and consequential ecological damage.
- There is also a lack of timely checks by the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).
- The boundary markings of the leased-out area are not clearly defined.
- One of the reasons that illegal mining thrives is the lack of timely renewals for mining.
- The responsibility is on the mine owners, who do not apply in time, and also on the various regulatory authorities where the applications are not processed in time.
- Losses to the state exchequer: As per an estimate, U.P. is losing revenue from 70% of mining activities as only 30% area is legally mined. While non-payment of various cesses due to unregulated mining has resulted in a loss of ₹100 crore to Karnataka and ₹600 crore to Madhya Pradesh in 2016-17.
- Excessive sand mining can alter the river bed, force the river to change course, erode banks and lead to flooding. It also destroys the habitat of aquatic animals and micro-organisms besides affecting groundwater recharge.
- Illegal mining activities were identified as the cause of environmental problems such as water pollution, deforestation, poor soil fertility and limited access to land for agriculture productivity.
- The state governments and the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) should coordinate better to see that the mine production sums up with the mining plan.
- Protecting minor minerals requires investment in production and consumption measurement and also monitoring and planning tools.
- Satellite imagery can be used to monitor the volume of extraction and also check the mining process.
- Additionally, drones, the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain technology can be leveraged to monitor mechanisms by using Global Positioning System, radar and Radio Frequency (RF) Locator.
- To curb illegal mining, governments must ensure proper closure and security of all closed mines. In addition to financial guarantees, governments must insist that mining companies provide mine closure plans before granting permits.
India is progressing on the technological front, and lot of progress has taken place in remote monitoring as well as surveillance in the field of mining. It is reasonable to use technological progression to keep an effective check on mining activities in the country.