‘IBM-ISRO MoU soon to track illegal mining’

Bhubaneswar: An agreement between Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be inked soon to track illegal mining across the country, Union Mines secretary Balvinder Kumar said here today.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of the new building of IBM here.

Kumar said plans have been finalised to track illegal mining in the country using space technology and satellite imagery in partnership with ISRO. This requires states to utilise remote sensing technology to take satellite images of their mines and update them every 15-30 days. It will help authorities in ascertaining the extent of mining operations and check illegal extraction of minerals, he said.

IBM sources said the Union Mines Ministry has asked the States to analyse the feasibility of adopting this system to monitor illegal mining within their boundaries. Maharashtra, which is already monitoring illegal mining with the help of remote sensing technology, would be of great help to other States, officials added.

It may be recalled that widespread illegal mining in States like Odisha, Karnataka and Goa led to the closure of a number of mines in these States in recent years. The matter led to the intervention of the Supreme Court and the central empowered committee which recommended suspension of mining operations and reforms in the sector.