The Uttar Pradesh geology and mining department has mooted the idea of using satellite mapping and remote sensing techniques to tackle the menace of illegal mining in the state.
In its proposal to the state government, the department has sought approval to use the Geographic Information System (GIS) technique in Mirzapur district as a pilot project to judge the efficacy of the remote sensing technology to curb illegal mining.
According to the proposal, the Lucknow-based Remote Sensing Applications Centre would help the department in its pilot project, which is estimated to cost Rs 16 lakh. The centre functions as an autonomous entity under the state department of science and technology.
Based on the results of the pilot, the project could be implemented in other mineral-rich districts of the state.
We are awaiting the nod of the state government on our proposal and the sanction of the requisite budget for the project, Bhaskar Upadhyay, director, geology and mining directorate, Uttar Pradesh, told Business Standard.
GIS is a computer system designed to capture and display data related to the earths surface in the form of a detailed map. This data can be analysed to secure required results.
Meanwhile, another proposal of the mining department about raising its specialised force to deal with illegal mining is also pending with the government.
The department had proposed to raise a force of 400-500 personnel to act against illegal miners. These personnel would be deployed for patrolling mines and conducting raids.
Between April-August 2014, 4,748 raids were conducted in Uttar Pradesh on illegal miners. Besides, about 200 first information reports (FIRs) have also been lodged, 1,800 vehicles seized and Rs 5 crore recovered as penalties and compounding during these operations.
This year, the mining department has set a revenue target of Rs 1,100 crore against the target of Rs 954 crore during 2013-14, of which 97.5 per cent was achieved.
During 2012-13, the department had achieved revenue collection of Rs 722 crore against a similar target of Rs 954 crore.
The main source of the departments revenue is sand and coal mining royalty and penalties accruing from leases provided to contractors.
Uttar Pradesh has about 4,000 mines of coal, silica, bauxite and granite mostly in the Bundelkhand region and private miners are allowed to extract minerals for royalties.