UNION Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal Saturday launched a satellite-based Mining Surveillance System (MSS), one of the first-of-its-kind in the world, to detect illegal mining of major minerals in the country.
To be available to common public too along with mining officials, the “participatory” vigilance system has been developed by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) in coordination with Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Application and Geo-Informatics (BISAG), Gandhinagar and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology under the Digital India programme. It involves detection of illegal mining within 500 meters of existing major mineral mines, numbering about 3,843 by using CARTOSAT and United States Geological Survey (USGS). A specially developed mobile app can be used by anyone to upload information about illegal mining activity, which can be then reported to officials concerned.
Addressing media persons through teleconference, Goyal said, “MSS will put a leash on illegal mining by leveraging space technology and will also bring about transparency.”
He added, “The Prime Minister had given a call to all departments on September 7, 2015 to use space technology for achieving good governance. The MSS will go a long way in achieving that goal.
In the initial phase, MSS has generated 296 triggers (alerts) covering about 4,000 hectares. The field verification of these triggers will be done by mining officials of the states concerned. “Efforts to leverage the system also for minor minerals, which are under the jurisdiction of state, is underway,” Goyal said.
He informed that the Centre has initiated excavation in 100 blocks of 100 sq km each covering over 2.5 lakh sq km to explore new mineral deposits as a bid to achieve self-reliance in minerals.
To a specific question about database of mine workers, the Minister said, “It’s a good idea, and we will try to incorporate this in our system and upload data about all workforce in our system.”