Coal mining is rampant in India. Unfortunately, it has continued unabated even during the lockdown. The Hill Times reported crashing of a coal-laden truck in Tinsukia, which caused road blockage for a few hours. But what has the Government done about illegal coal mining? Is it even aware about it?

BJP MP Rakesh Sinha asked the Union Minister of Coal to answer in Parliament. The answer was, “Illegal mining of coal is reported to be carried out mainly from abandoned mines, shallow coal seams, situated at remote/isolated places from the mines and are scattered over a large area. It is a Law & Order problem, which is a State subject, hence primarily falls under the domain of the State/District administration to take necessary deterrent action to stop/curb illegal mining of coal. The Management of Coal India Limited and its subsidiary companies lodge FIR with local Thana to take necessary action”.

As per the answer in the Parliament, a total of 263 FIRs were registered for illegal coal mining in 2018-19, out of which maximum, i.e. 184 were in West Bengal. The value of the illegal coal seized during 2018-19 was about Rs. 76 lakhs.

Bollywood has often portrayed the bureaucratic-mafia nexus in the illegal coal mining industry. It looks like that all of it was a figment of imagination! As per the Government, “There is no such report, received by the Government, of any of nexus between contractors and bureaucrats in the coal belt, which encourages illegal mining and also theft from Coal India Limited & its subsidiary companies.” Accordingly, the Government does not have any plan to appoint a Committee or Commission to end this non-existent nexus.




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