Govt to Use Space Technology to Keep Mining Mafia in Check
Ministry to monitor mines with major minerals such as iron ore, gold to start with
New Delhi: The government has taken a tough stand against mining mafia, deciding to monitor all mines, including minerals such as limestone and sand, through space technologies, and to ask states to quantify past illegal mining activities and actions taken to check them.
Mines secretary Balvinder Ku- mar told ET that satellite mapping of mines will start with major minerals such as iron ore and gold, and will be gradually extended to minor minerals like limestone and sand where the problem is severe.
“Once fully implemented, the move will bring about transformation in the Indian mining industry. We have identified large chunks of illegal mining in many areas. It is rampant in case of minor minerals like limestone and sand in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. We will ask states to quantify losses due to illegal mine activities and explain their positions to us,” Kumar said.
Rampant illegal mining in Karnataka and Goa led to mining bans by the Supreme Court in 2011and 2012. Sand mining in Uttar Pra- desh has been a cause of concern for state and central governments.
The mines ministry started pilot monitoring projects about four months ago in collaboration with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics for 400 mines in Gujarat, extending these later to four mines each in other states. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in September last year urged use of space-based technologies to curb illegal mining.
Kumar said in the next three months, all 4,000-odd mines with major minerals such as bauxite, copper, manganese, nickel and zinc will be mapped by satellites for monitoring.
Under this process, digitised revenue maps of each mine will be superimposed on their respective GPS-enabled mining plans. This will help the mines ministry collect satellite images of all blocks every month and detect illegal activities within 500 metres of the earmarked boundaries of the mines. The Indian Bureau of Mines, which promotes scientific development of mineral resources, will be the nodal agency to implement satellite monitoring measures. Kumar said the bureau will set up a control room for regular monitoring and detection of illegal mining.
Digitised revenue maps of each mine will be superimposed on their respective GPS-enabled mining plans