CAG Report: Illegal mining of 37 lakh tonnes in Dehradun, revenue of Rs 45 crore was lost

Illegal mining business has been flourishing for years under the nose of police and administration. For the first time, officers and white-collars who have been saving their lives for illegal mining have come under the scanner of the CAG.
The CAG investigation is an eye opener. Because, between the year 2017-18 to the year 2020-21, 37.17 lakh metric tonnes of illegal mining has been confirmed. Apart from the damage caused to the ecosystem of the rivers by this illegal mining, the revenue of Rs 45.69 crore has also been imposed.
To clarify the situation of illegal mining, the CAG team took Saung, Dhakrani and Kulhal areas. These areas were closed for mining during the trial period (48 months). The CAG team along with remote sensing experts conducted satellite studies as well as ground surveys.
Only the standard limit (up to 1.5 m on the river bed) was taken into account for illegal mining. The figure of illegal mining in such a limited area is shocking. Satellite study found that illegal mining continued even during the lockdown during the Corona period. It is clear that in the era when the common man had to face the action of the police on coming out, the eyes were closed for the mining mafia.
Government agencies also consumed illegal minerals:
The CAG found that various government construction agencies also used illegal minerals. Because various agencies including PWD allowed use of 37.17 Lakh MT material without pass. In this way only royalty of Rs 26.02 crore could be deposited on the material used.
It should have been that five times the fine should have been collected for illegal mining. Due to which the government suffered a loss of Rs 104.08 crore. Apart from this, illegal passes were also found in different sections of Lonivi, the investigation of which is pending.
219 sellers of mineral materials, only 34 registered:
CAG found that 219 traders of sand, grit, stone, gravel etc. are registered in GST. Relative to this, only 34 are registered in the District Mining Office. Due to this, the officials are failing to catch those selling illegal mining material.

Question on the role of District Magistrate:
The CAG said that the District Magistrates are directly responsible for the illegal mining done during the year 2017-18 to 2020-21. Apart from this, the role of District Mines Officer, Forest Department, Transport, PWD, Pollution Control Board and Police was also brought to the fore.

CAG suggested:
The mining monitoring system developed by the Ministry of Mines and the Indian Bureau of Mines should be adopted. Monitoring of illegal mining is possible in this satellite based system.
The construction agencies should thoroughly verify the genuineness of the possession of the mined material before making payment to the contractor.
Construction agency, district administration and other departments should coordinate with each other. Cooperation should also be taken from the GST department.
Mining areas should be monitored through drones.

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