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Don't let mining Bill lapse, CSE urges Centre

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A green advocacy organisation today attacked the Centre for not pushing the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill in the ongoing session, saying that the failure to pass it would mean continuity of "corruption and environmental degradation" in the mining sector.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that the Bill has provisions on auctioning, transparency and a progressive feature on profit-sharing with affected communities which could have addressed the main concerns facing the mining sector.

The MMDR Bill, 2011, will lapse if not passed in the ongoing session as it is going to be the last meeting of the House under the 15th Lok Sabha.

"Failure to pass the Bill means that non-transparency, non-accountability, corruption and environmental degradation would continue in the sector," CSE said in a statement.

Stating that some of the biggest scams in the country in the last five years were unearthed in the mining sector, CSE Deputy Director General, Chandra Bhushan, said that, "This is a clear victory for the vested interests in the mining sector... The MMDR Bill has important provisions aiming to address the various concerns brought out by these scams."

Pointing to the CAG's calculation of a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore in the 'Coalgate' scam and MB Shah Commission's estimate of a Rs 60,000 crore loss in Odisha, CSE said that all these scams have eaten into government revenues and extended windfall gains to mining companies.

This has resulted in extensive environmental damage and led to a perception amongst people that there are no benefits in mining, CSE added while appealing to Parliament to pass the Bill in this session.

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