India's mining rules a joke, says human rights body

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that India's mining industry has spun out of control into lawlessness, as the government has ''miserably'' failed to control it.

''It has encouraged lawlessness by failing to enforce laws or even monitor whether mine operators are complying with them,'' HRW said.

The 69-page report titled 'Out of control – mining, regulatory failure and human rights in India' released in Goa on Thursday, says that deep-rooted shortcomings in the design and implementation of key policies have effectively left mine operators to supervise themselves. The pervasive lawlessness in the scandal-ridden mining industry is essentially a failure of governance, it says.

The report talks of an annual rate of 30 criminal acts for every legitimate mining operation in the country, and goes on to show how even mines operating with the approval of government regulators are able to violate the law with impunity.

Giving an instance, HRW says former Karnataka minister and mining magnate G Janardhana Reddy allegedly used his official position to extort huge quantities of iron ore from other operators, using government regulators as part of his scheme. It says Reddy may have run an extortion racket in the state along with his brothers G Karunakara and G Somashekara Reddy, usurping mineral production of other miners in return for protection from government regulation.

Reddy is currently in Bangalore Central Prison as an accused in the illegal mining carried out by his Obulapuram Mining Co.