The Punjab Mining and Geology Department has decided to deploy drones to curb illegal sand mining in the state, officials said Wednesday.
The department may borrow the drones from the state police, they said.
"We will soon be using drones (to keep a check on illegal mining) and we hope it will start in next one month or so," a senior official of the department said on Wednesday.
The drones can be deployed to monitor areas where the illegal mining is suspected to be rampant, he said.
The Mining and Geology Department which has been hived off from the Industries Department has also decided to keep surveillance on the illegal mining through satellite mapping.
"Through geo satellite, a check will also be kept to see whether any mining activity is going on outside the permitted area," the official said.
Illegal mining has been a major challenge for the Congress-led government in Punjab.
Last month, the state cabinet came out with a new mining policy, aimed to bring further transparency in the sand mining business.
In the new policy, which is aimed to generate revenue of Rs 400 crore, the cabinet had decided to enable the government to grant contracts by auction of mining blocks in strategically established clusters through progressive bidding instead of the earlier process of auction by individual mines.
The weighment slips for transportation of sand with features like barcodes, QR codes would be stamped with the date and time and vehicles would be tracked with the GPS or RFID tags.
The policy also mandated geo-tagging of all mines while conducting physical inspections, and boundaries of mines would be checked using coordinates recorded by GPS device.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)