In order to keep a tab on illegal sand mining activity happening on 60 kilometers of “sensitive” Sabarmati riverbed in the districts of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Sabarkantha, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani on Monday launched a drone surveillance project. This is the first time the state government is using drones with “night-vision” to check illegal mining.
In the coming days, the project is expected to be expanded to other river-beds including ….. Roopwant Singh, the Commissioner of Geology and Mining department while inaugurating the project said, “In order to ensure that all the royalty from mining comes to the state treasury, it is very important to stop illegal mining… It is also physically difficult to keep a tab on the mining areas that are spread on two lakh square kilometers in Gujarat. So we are starting drone surveillance today.”
“The project is being started with illegal mining happening in sensitive areas of river-beds of the state. We are starting with Sabarmati river-bed, but soon we will extend it to (river-beds of) Orsang, Tapi, Bhadar and other sensitive areas,” Singh added before the Chief Minister directed two drones to take off from the roof of the Petrography and Mineral Chemistry Laboratory at Raisan village in Gandhinagar.
Sand-mining on the stretch between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar has been stopped since 2016 and has been declared as a sensitive zone, officials said.
A command and control centre for the drones have also been created at Udyog Bhavan in Gandhinagar from where the surveillance will take place. Two types of drones were launched for the surveillance. “We will initially have three drones for the surveillance and will keep an eye on three different spots on this 60 kilometer stretch covering Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Sabarkantha. All of the drones have night-vison capability and can be operated at night. Silicon IT Hub Pvt Ltd will be providing us with the surveillance services and we will paying Rs 10.50 lakh per month for 50 hours of surveillance. It is a one year project,” Singh later told The Indian Express.
The official said that the drone can fly at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour, can zoom in on vehicle numbers and persons driving the vehicles.