The mines ministry is promoting use of drones in a bid to curb illegal mining in the country and has asked states and public sector undertakings (PSUs) to consider using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The ministry's thinking is that drones can be leveraged for conducting aerial surveys at regular intervals to study difference in patterns that can be utilised for analysing mining activities, a senior government official said.
"Besides, these can act as a tremendous tool in checking illegal mining. We can use UAVs for tracking movement of illegal trucks. Also, drones fitted with thermal imaging sensors and cameras can also be deployed at night to check if any illegal mining activity or transportation is being carried out," he added.
The ministry has approached the state governments concerned as well as PSUs such as iron ore miner NMDC, Nalco, SAIL and manganese producer MOIL.
Most of these state-run companies either are in the mining sector or have captive mines, and drones can help them in checking illegal mining as well as loss of raw material, the official explained.
Last month, in a path-breaking move, the government launched the mining surveillance system (MSS), a pan-India surveillance network using latest satellite technology, to check illegal mining.
MSS is a satellite-based monitoring system that aims to check illegal mining activity through automatic remote-sensing detection technology.
The Indian Bureau of Mines, on behalf of the mines ministry, has developed MSS, in co-ordination with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG), Gandhinagar, and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY).