All mines are geo-tagged and geo-fenced before the start of mining operations
The Punjab Government has taken strict actions to stop the illegal mining in the state with the intervention of the latest technical mechanism.
Giving further details, the official spokesperson of the Mining and Geology department said that all the mines are geo-tagged and geo-fenced by the department before the starting of the mining operations. Currently, geotagging or geofencing of mines located in the state of Punjab has already been completed are also available in the public domain through department portal.
The spokesperson said that pre mining survey has been done with the help of drones on all the mining sites, allotted by the department, so that illegal mining can be stopped.
A provision for online complaints has also been made in the Mining Portal (Mineral Sale Management and Monitoring System) https://minesandgeology.punjab.gov.in. An ‘android application (Punjab Sand)’, has been available on the Google Play Store which can be downloaded by any person, for the purpose of making complaints about the illegal mining along with the coordinates and pictures in any area in the State.
It is worth bringing to the notice that up till October 31, 2023, a total 5366 cases have been registered by Police Department against illegal mining in the State.
The Department of Mines and Geology has also constituted a ‘District Level Task Force’ to curb illegal mining in the State as per NGT orders.
In compliance with NGT orders, a total of 110 FIRs have been filed, and 156 vehicles have been seized in Ropar District. Additionally, in instances of illegal mining in Ropar District, the Department has cancelled the registration of 13 crushers.
He said that the mining and geology department is in the process of signing MoU with the IIT Ropar with the objective of sustainable management and monitoring of riverbeds and other mining sites using satellite data.
Refuting the misleading statement of the leader of opposition Pratap Singh Bajwa, the spokesperson of the Mining and Geology department clarified that the allegations regarding mining activities in Punjab are categorically incorrect and contrary to the claims of LoP as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF) issued comprehensive guidelines in 2020, emphasizing the use of geo-fencing and geo-tagging for mining sites.
The spokesperson further added that the Punjab government has diligently implemented these guidelines by creating Keyhole Markup Language (KML) files for all mining sites, utilizing GPS coordinates. These files serve as robust tools for geofencing and geotagging, enabling anyone to easily identify mining areas on platforms like Google Earth. It’s worth noting that every Mine Plan is accompanied by a mandatory KML file, and each Environmental Clearance (EC) application includes this essential documentation.
He said that the department is currently at the final stage of obtaining 40 Environmental Clearances (ECs).
He said that a few years ago, mining activities were conducted without the necessary ECs and permissions. However, under the present government, strict adherence to legal protocols is maintained, ensuring that mining operations are only permitted in areas where ECs or permissions from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) have been obtained. The state government is committed to upholding the law and safeguarding the environmental integrity of our region, he added.