ISRO tech to end sand-mining, man-animal conflict: Minister

Coimbatore: Plans are afoot to detect illegal sand-mining across the country with the help of ISRO satellites and also augment water and fodder in forest areas to prevent man-animal conflict, Union Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar said Saturday.

The government plans to use satellite image technology by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) to map every area and river to check illegal sand-mining.

Javadekar said this to reporters at Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology (SACON), near here.

“With the help of ISRO technology, we will know where the sand is deposited and the government could auction it, thereby the mafia is avoided and a sustainable sand-mining will be in place, he said in response to a question on sand-mining, which has become a major challenge.

To another question on increasing man-human conflict due to encroachment of forest area, particularly elephant corridor and not abiding by HACA (Hill Area Conservation Authority) rules in Western Ghats, Javdekar said the farmers had told him that unless enough water and fodder was provided, the conflict would continue.

“From this year, we have been asking states to take up water and fodder augmentation in forest areas and prepare contour map, catchment treatment plan,” he said.

The ministry is releasing the CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) funds to the states, which have pending for the last 15 years, so that the states can take up the water and fodder augmentation by which there would be no more human-animal conflict, he said.

On wildlife, the minister said, “In India, we have doubled the tiger population before 2022 and in the 10 years more than doubled, we have more than 30,000 elephants and rhinos in thousands.

“Wildlife testifies our ecology chain…and we want to maintain the balance,” Javadekar said.