Illegal mining in India thrives despite clampdown: minister

India witnessed a spurt in illegal mining with 73,115 cases recorded in 2010 and 69,337 cases in 2011, while the number of such cases in 2009 were 41,578, minister of mines Dinsha Patel told the Rajya Sabha today.

Patel said 25,713 cases of illegal mining were recorded this year till March while the government realised fine to the tune of Rs755 crore from mine grabbers, besides seizing 2,20,085 vehicles used by them.

The decline in the number of registered cases in 2011 compared with the previous year was due mainly to blanket ban on mining imposed by the Supreme Court in two key mining regions of Karnataka and Goa, official sources pointed out.

He said the special task force set up to control the menace of illegal mining conducted inspections of 454 mines in mineral rich areas and suspended 155 leases for violation of norms.

''Special task forces conducted inspections in a total of 454 mines in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Gujarat and suspended 155 mines under Mineral Conservation and Development Rules due to serious violations,'' Patel said.

Besides, the Indian Bureau of Mines has recommended termination of eight leases, Patel said, adding the centre has taken a number of steps to prevent illegal mining and was in regular touch with the state governments.