The central government has asked the state governments to nominate one officer from either the “secretariat” or from the “department of mines and geology (DMG)” to oversee the recently launched mining surveillance system (MSS) in order to curb illegal mining.
The MSS was launched by Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Mines, on October 15, 2016 in New Delhi. In a letter written to state governments on October 18, the Union mines ministry explained how the MSS would actually work. “The success of MSS would entirely depend on the support of the respective state governments by taking timely action,” said the letter.
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In MSS, the system checks a region of 500 meters around the existing mining lease boundary to search for any unusual activity which may be related to illegal mining in the area. “If any discrepancy is found in that zone indicative of mining activity, it is flagged-off as a ‘trigger’. These triggers would be examined at the Remote Sensing Control Centre (RSCC) of Indian Bureau of Mines and then transmitted to the State DMG or the district level mining officials for field verification, who would check for illegality and report back using mobile app or online portal,” the mines ministry said.
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Currently, initial triggers generated in MSS are being transferred to the respective state governments by the IBM within one or two days. The state DMG or the district level mining officials are expected to do their field verification and submit report within the next seven days. “The geo-tagged photograph of the site would be desirable with the field verification either directly through mobile app or by uploading it to the online portal,” the mines ministry said in its letter.
“The system can also be leveraged for curbing illegal mining in minor minerals, where it is more rampant. The States of Haryana, Telangana and Chhattisgarh have given willingness for a pilot launch by digitising all their minor mineral leases and are requested to do the same by November end,” the mines ministry added. Other state governments have been asked to implement MSS for minor minerals by digitizing all minor mineral leases by December end.