Government has ruled out use of Satellite imaging technology to prevent illegal sand mining. Minister of State in The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr Babul Supriyo, in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha yesterday has expressed difficulty in using the said technology in preventing illegal sand mining in the country.
“The National Remote Sensing Center, Hyderabad vide its letter No. NRSC: RSA: 11: 1·9 dated September 23: 2019 informed the Ministry that due to various technical reasons, which inter-alia includes high reflecting body of sand, absence of unique spectral signatures in pre & post images, absence of accurately geo-fenced mine boundaries, difficulty in establishing legality of morphological changes, etc., it is difficult to conclusively delineate the illegal sand mining areas,” the Minister stated in his reply.
According to the Minister, the Ministry has taken several steps to ensure environmental safeguards due to mining of minerals which includes mandating the requirement of prior environmental clearance under the provisions of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006, as amended from time to time; laying stringent conditions while granting the environmental clearances with due consideration of various aspects related to flora, fauna, air, water, land, environmental health etc.; issuance of Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines 2016; and Enforcement & Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining 2020 wherein the use of IT Technology, night surveillance through UAV/Drone etc. has been proposed to control illegal mining.