State asks Mandya Administration to use technology to scan mining hotspots
Bengaluru: The State Government has ordered the Mandya District Administration to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with advanced cameras to identify illegal stone and granite mining hotspots in and around the Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam in Mandya and the areas surrounding it.
There is rampant mining activity at Baby Betta Kaval, Baby Betta Amruth Mahal Reserve Area, Bannangadi, Chinakurali, Anaganahalli, Kannambadi, Honaganahalli, Bastipura, Beechanakuppe, Avverahalli and surrounding areas in Mandya and Pandavapura.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru last evening, Minister for Mines and Geology Murugesh Nirani said that the drone survey will ascertain all mining activities that pose a threat to the 90-year-old KRS Dam.
“The feature of drone technology is that it can be used to monitor illegal mining activities, check for activity at night and to track illegal truck movements. Drones can also monitor whether reclamation has been done as committed in the lease agreement, when a mine was closed and calculate the extent of the mining areas and also measure the green cover,” he said.
The move will help analyse the volume of stones quarried, boundaries of the leased sites and also activities in open pit mines besides curbing illegal mining activities. “The UAV technology procures high-resolution aerial images for any specified areas within a short span of time. It also helps reduce the survey time, cost and human errors. It can demarcate boundaries of leased areas, identifies violations in terms of area, depth and volume and helps assess the actual quantum of stone quarried,” Nirani added.
He said all illegal mining activities have been banned four months back at Baby Betta and surroundings. And only mines and crushers that have legal permits and licences are operating in Mandya. “It is not possible to prevent legal mining and if the entire mining activity is banned, the work on Mysuru-Bengaluru 10-lane Highway will come to a standstill,” he reasoned.
Works on the Highway are in full swing and the M-sand and the stones for the project come from legal mining in Mandya. “Moreover, Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha is pressuring the Centre and the project contractor to complete the project within the already delayed deadline. We cannot stop such projects. Let me clarify that there is no illegal mining now,” he explained.
Nirani admitted that illegal mining was rampant in Baby Betta. “We have imposed a blanket ban on illegal mining at Baby Betta and other areas following irregularities. We will soon conduct a survey along with Mines and Geology Department officers, mine and crusher owners and other stakeholders,” he added.