Odisha mining department asked to use Google Earth software

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Bhubaneswar: With the Justice M B Shah Commission of Enquiry indicting both the Odisha government and the Centre for illegal mining in the state, direction was given today to the mines department to use Google Earth software for monitoring.

Since mine boundaries were digitised, monitoring could be done through remote sensing mechanism, Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra said at a state-level task force meeting.

“The data availed from remote sensing can be inspected through actual field verification to determine the extent of violation, if any,” Mohapatra told the department.

Mohapatra also asked the steel and mines department to make use of Google Earth, a virtual globe programme, for monitoring whether actual mining was being carried out within specified boundaries, a senior official said after attending the meeting.

The Paradip Port Trust (PPT) was asked to create more infrastructure for transport of mineral by rail to reduce the traffic load on roads which caused numerous hazards for people.

The transport department was asked to implement strictly approved district specific rates for transport of minerals by trucks. Earlier, industries had alleged that transport cost charged by transporters in Odisha was high.

It was resolved to take penal action against violations in transportation through roads.

The problems relating to unloading of trucks at Paradeep Port and their parking on national highways over prolonged periods were discussed in the meeting.

The port authorities stated that they could unload 1200 to 1500 trucks daily.

Considering different dimensions of the problem, the Chief Secretary asked the Chairman PPT and Director Mines jointly to look in to the actual loading of trucks from originating points and unloading capacity of the port and suggest measures to resolve the problem.

They were asked to submit their report within two weeks.

The Chief Secretary also advised the PPT authorities to adopt alternative mechanism for scaling up unloading capacity of the port.

The transport authorities were advised to create off-road transit points for trucks at strategic locations to reduce jams on roads.

Meanwhile, the state’s mining revenue collection up to December, 2013 was Rs 3894 crore against Rs 3803 crore for the corresponding period in 2012.

Dispatch of minerals up to December 2013 was 40.58 million tonne against 36.81 million tonne for the corresponding period in the last year.

The production of minerals, as targeted, was reduced to 40.05 million tonne by December 2013 against a total production of 42.97 million during the same period in 2012.

Regular monitoring of dispatch and control of illegal mining resulted in more dispatch and less exploitation of natural resources.

At present, 31 iron mines, 12 manganese mines and 20 iron and manganese mines were working in the state. Many mines were non-working state mainly due to the want of statutory clearances from central government departments.

The meeting resolved to promote increased utilisation of lumps and fines in the state.

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