Govt to set up online system by Dec to check illegal mining

The development comes in the wake of an alarming increase in illegal mining in various states. The government has recorded 24,405 cases of illegal mining in January-March 2011, almost 30% of the cases in the entire 2010

New Delhi: In a step aimed at curbing illegal mining, the government on Tuesday said it will put in place an online system by December which will register all mineral-related transactions in the country, reports PTI.

The development comes in the wake of an alarming increase in illegal mining in various states. The government has recorded 24,405 cases of illegal mining in January-March 2011, almost 30% of the cases in the entire 2010.

“We are going to introduce an end-to-end accounting system by the end of this year for all mineral transactions including mining, selling, transportation and export by miners, traders and exporters. This will check illegal mining,” mines secretary S Vijay Kumar told PTI.

Under the online system, registration of miners, traders and exporters of major minerals like iron ore, lime and bauxite will be a must, Mr Vijay Kumar, who chaired a high-level meeting of senior central and state government officials to expedite mineral concessions and check illegal mining, said.

The registration will be done under the Mineral Conservation Development Rules (MCDR) by amending it.

At present, there are not enough legal provisions for the central intervention in illegal mining in states, but the magnitude of the problem is so high that as many as 82,330 cases were detected in 2010, almost double the 41,578 cases unearthed in 2009.

The Central Coordination-cum-Empowered Committee (CEC) in its meeting yesterday also decided that the government will use satellite imagery to curb the menace.

States have been asked to curb illegal mining by improving monitoring of the mineral system through empowered committees and district level task forces and plugging loopholes in the royalty collection system.

The committee also reviewed the position regarding various important aspects of the mineral concession regime in the country, and stressed the need for bringing about more efficiency and transparency in the system.

The meeting was attended by representatives from ministries of environment and forests, defence, home affairs, steel, civil aviation, railway, shipping and finance. Officials from the Indian Bureau of Mines and Geological Survey of India also participated in the meeting.

Representatives of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu were also present.

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Private telecos approach TRAI, say disconnection to hit BSNL

Private players alleged that BSNL is demanding erroneous termination charges from private players which is against TRAI’s recommendations

New Delhi: Private telecom operators on Tuesday said they have approached the Telecin Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to resolve the ongoing network disconnection issue with BSNL and alleged that the PSU was not co-operating with the industry players, reports PTI.

“We have given our representation to TRAI to issue an order. TRAI has taken our case for legal consideration.

Hopefully, something should happen by 26th September,” GSM industry body COAI director general Rajan Mathew told PTI.

Mr Mathew added that BSNL should work in public interest and wait for recommendations of TRAI on interconnect usage charge, which is under process.

BSNL had asked private operators to pay Rs165.62 crore IUC charge in Maharashtra and Rajasthan by 19th September or face disconnection from BSNL network.

Industry bodies COAI and CDMA have said the BSNL chairman and managing director has given them time till 26th September to make the payments.

Private players alleged that BSNL is demanding erroneous termination charges from private players which is against TRAI’s recommendations.

“Till the time TRAI does not come up with fresh recommendations on IUC, its recommendations on IUC given in 2009 stands,” CDMA industry body AUSPI secretary general SC Khanna said.

On BSNL’s remark that some players have paid the amount demanded by the company, Mr Khanna said small players who have less amount to pay may accept the charges but big players will not agree to the demand.

He added that BSNL subscribers will suffer the most in the event of disconnection of network compared to private operators.

“Since 1998, I have been in this association and we have always received disconnection threat from BSNL. It started from the time BSNL had 76% market share but now they have 14% market share. The muscle they used to flex no longer exists,” Mr Khanna said.

He said in case BSNL disconnects private operators from network, BSNL customers will not be able to call or send SMS to customers of other operators, while customers of other operators will be able to connect mutually.

“We are not worried, but telecom industry is going through a bad phase. Margins have declined. BSNL is making loss and any lacuna in service will make them suffer more,” Mr Khanna said.

According to private players, BSNL has demanded termination charges of up to 65 paise per call from them, which is against TRAI’s IUC norm of 2009, that states the charges to be as 15 paise per call.

Termination charges are a part of IUC which an operator pays to the other for landing calls of its user on the other players’ network.

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COAI seeks review of 100 SMSes per day norm

COAI argued that that such a regulation may pose a potential challenge to the ‘fundamental rights’ of an ordinary subscriber. There could be a situation where a customer has exhausted the limit and suddenly some emergency occurs. Due to this artificial restriction, safety of the subscriber may be jeopardised

New Delhi: Telecom operators’ lobby COAI has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to reconsider its recommendation to limit 100 SMSes per day per SIM, saying that such a regulation may pose a potential challenge to the ‘fundamental rights’ of an ordinary subscriber, reports PTI.

To stop the menace of pesky SMSes, telecom regulator TRAI had asked telecom operators to limit the number of short message services from 27th September.

There are several instances where SMSes are an important mode of communication. There could be a situation where a customer has exhausted the limit and suddenly some emergency occurs. Due to this artificial restriction, safety of the subscriber may be jeopardised, COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said in a letter to the TRAI.

TRAI had said that no access provider shall permit sending of more than one hundred SMSes per day per SIM.

While in the case of post-paid, it had restricted the number of SMSes to 3,000 per month per SIM.

In case a customer wants to use more than the prescribed limit of 100 SMSes a day, the access provider shall obtain an undertaking from such subscribers that the said telephone number shall not be used for sending any commercial communications.

Further, regarding allocating separate series ‘140’ for the telemarketing through the fixed line services, the letter added that the new number will pose challenge to service providers.

The identification of the calling party will be difficult and the service providers will not be able to reconcile their IUC invoices. This will lead to inter-operator IUC disputes as BSNL may claim highest carriage charges of 65 paise as terminating charge, he added.

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