New Delhi: The mines ministry on Saturday launched a satellite-based illegal mining detection system, which will receive tip offs in the form of pictures taken from a mobile phone, automatically generate complaints to state authorities and publish the outcome of a probe in a mobile application.
The surveillance system launched in New Delhi by mines minister Piyush Goyal as part of the Digital India programme seeks to curb illegal mining without human intervention and subjectivity. Goyal urged all government departments to employ space technology for achieving good governance.
The surveillance system covers most of the 2,133 working mines in the country and the union government is working with states to digitize the non-working mines too within three months. Eventually, the entire 3,843 mines in the country will come under the surveillance system. It detects suspicious activities within a range of 500 metres outside the mining lease boundary.
“Data from the satellite is super imposed on a digital map of mining lease area in regular intervals to detect activities outside the mining lease area. This way, we will get to know if any excavation has happened within 500 metres of the mining lease boundary. Any visitor to the area can also take pictures of suspicious activity and upload in a mobile phone application," explained Balvinder Kumar, secretary, mines ministry.
The idea is to make mineral administration more responsive in curbing instances of illegal mining activity through public participation and remote sensing detection technology, said a statement from the ministry. The surveillance system is developed by the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG), Gandhinagar, and the ministry of electronics and information technology (MEITY).
This system covers only illegal mining outside the lease area and not any excavation within the lease area which is conducted without sufficient approvals or after the approvals have expired.