"90 mines were operating prior to the ban imposed by the state government of Goa on September 10, 2012," Minister of State for Mines and Steel Vishnu Deo Sai said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), a subordinate office of Ministry of Mines, approves the mining plan or scheme of mining of major minerals for systematic and optimum utilisation or extraction of mineral, he said.

To monitor the proposal envisaged in the approved plan of mining, IBM carries out regular inspections of mines and takes appropriate remedial measures as per the provisions of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and the rules made there under.

IBM as the techinal regulator, regulates the mining activity for major minerals (excluding fuel, coal and atomic minerals) including the iron ore mining activity by carrying out regular inspections to implement the  provisions of Mineral Conservation and Development Rules 1988.

Replying to a question on sand mining, the minister said sand is a minor mineral and as per the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act, 1957, state governments have been empowered to frame rules in respect of minor minerals for regulating the grant of quarry leases,
mining leases or other mineral concessions etc.

He said the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh during the discussion with the Centre have stated their opinion that there has been a rise in the cases of illegal mining of minor minerals especially sand.

The minister added that almost all the states pointed out that litigation is strangulating the administrative integrity impeding grant or renewal of sand mining leases resulting in increase in illegal mining.

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