Satellites are being used for surveillance aimed at checking illegal mining in the country and the data is quickly passed on to the state governments for action, the government told the Lok Sabha today. The Ministry of Mines, through Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), has developed the Mining Surveillance System (MSS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Applications and Geo-Informatics (BISAG) to use the space technology to check illegal mining, Minister for Mines Piyush Goyal said.
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“MSS uses the Satellite Remote Sensing Technology together with Information Technology. MSS is a transparent and bias-free system having a quick response time and capability of effective follow-up,” he said in reply to questions. He said a user-friendly mobile app has been developed for MSS which is used by the inspecting officials of the state governments to submit their geo-tagged inspection reports. “Using this mobile app, the citizens can also report unusual mining activity which is likely to be illegal mining, thus making it a participative and citizen-centric monitoring system,” the minister said.
He said the MSS was launched on October 15 last year and since then 269 ‘triggers’ had been generated across the country, which were sent to the respective state governments for follow-up. Till now, field verification of 190 triggers have been completed by the state government officials out of which unauthorised mining has been reported in 29 cases, which is 15 per cent, Goyal said.
He said the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act has already been amended and its most important provision is the grant of mineral concessions for major minerals, through auction by competitive bidding which is transparent and non-discriminatory method and which will also obtain for state government its fair share of value of the minerals resources.
The Minister said some state governments have already conducted auction for grant of minerals concessions for major minerals and so far 21 mineral blocks have been auctioned successfully. Advisory to state governments have also been issued to incorporate a transparent and non-discriminatory regime for grant of mineral concessions for minor minerals, he said.