|Govt's move is a major step to curb illegal extraction.|
The Government proposes to set up a national mining regulator for major minerals, such as iron ore and coal, which would help tackle the growing menace of illegal mining in the country.
To be modelled on the lines of TRAI and SEBI, the National Mineral Regulatory Authority will be an independent quasi-judicial body and would have powers to commission investigations and also prosecute, sources said.
The authority will deal with cases relating to exploration and mining without leases, storage and transportation without valid permits among other issues based on written complaints.
The structure of the proposed regulatory authority is likely to be finalised on Monday by the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up to look into the new mining legislation. Last week, the GoM in its second meeting had suggested strengthening of the regulatory mechanism by giving more power to deal with rising cases of illegal mining.
Mining is a State subject and State Governments have not been successful in containing the spread of illegal mining. Sources said the proposed regulatory authority could help curb illegal mining of major minerals, while the State Governments could be asked to set up similar regulators to check illegal mining of minor minerals.
In view of the growing instances of illegal mining, the Central Government had recently asked States to prepare action plans to monitor and curb illegal mining which includes the use of satellite imagery and other intelligence inputs.
So far about 10 States, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, have prepared action plans to curb illegal mining. Karnataka has even gone a step further and banned the export of iron ore through the 10 minor ports in the State, and stopped issuing transport permits to regulate the movement of the commodity.