Rs 3.5 cr worth illegally mined coal recovered in four years

The government has recovered just Rs 3.5 crore of coal in the last four years. From 2009-10 the Centre and state governments have seized only 21,000 tonnes of coal from illegal miners till June this year.

The total coal production in India was 435 million tonnes in 2011-12. The sum recovered is 0.008 per cent of the turnover of over Rs 31,000 crore of Coal India Ltd as on September 2012.

The coal ministry has, however, acknowledged that since illegal mining of coal is by definition carried out "stealthily and clandestinely, as such, it is not possible to specify the exact quantum of coal stolen and losses incurred on account of illegal mining of coal."

According to the information tabled by the ministry in Parliament on Tuesday the security forces along with civil authorities jointly raided various places in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and other states in the past few years to recover the sum. Figures show that the recovery rate has come down sharply since 2009-10 when it was 10,322 tonnes while in 2011-12 it was 8,386 tonne, followed by 2,115 tonne the next fiscal.

The government has argued that though law and order issue is a state subject, but the public sector coal companies have initiated steps like erecting concrete walls on the mouth of the abandoned mines to prevent access and illegal activities.

Regular raids are being conducted by the security personnel and static security pickets have been set up and other measures taken to contain illegal coal mining, the ministry told Parliament.

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