In a bid to curb illegal mining activities, the Union Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines has launched the Mining Surveillance System in New Delhi.
“The technology is developed by Ministry of Mines in coordination with Indian Bureau of Mines and Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG), Gandhinagar and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY),” informs Vaikundarajan, founder of VV Minerals India, sand beach mining company.
Under the Digital India Programme, MSS is the first surveillance system in India to be developed using space technology. Vaikundarajan explains, “Currently, the entire system relies heavily on local complaints and unreliable information to track illegal activity. This new system uses remote sensing to check a region of 500 meters around the mining boundary and searches for any unusual activity. When an unusual activity is found, a trigger is sent to the district level mining officials for field verification. Further check is carried out and reported using a mobile app.”
Going one step further, this app will also be made available to citizens. “The collective effort of government and citizens will surely keep illegal mining at bay,” says Vaikundarajan.
Several other features such as – status of mapping of mining leases, reasons for triggers, penalty levied etc. – are embedded to help the officials make better decisions. “Currently there are 1710 working mines and 2133 non-working mines in India. While most of the working mines have been digitized, the government plans to complete the same for pending mines in 3 months,” informs Vaikundarajan.
A pilot of 296 triggers hosted on the National Centre of Geo-Informatics will be launched across Haryana, Telangana and Chattisgarh.