This post originally appeared on http://www.nagpurtoday.in/hawk-eye-watch-by-drones-curbing-illegal-mining-of-sand-effectively-kurve/06291846.
[Editor’s Note: 88 cases of illegal mining were detected between 2015 and 2016.]
Nagpur: Beware ruffians: Next time you “venture” out to excavate sand illegally, the eyes from the skies could be watching you and send you to jail. For the first time, drones are being used to curb illegal excavation of sand in Nagpur district. The District Collector Sachin Kurve has termed the unique experiment highly successful. Now, from July 1 onwards, the drones would be watching the activities of illegal excavators of sand in the nights, too.
It is pertinent to recall that illegal mining of sand in Nagpur district is a common phenomenon resulting loss in crores to the revenue of State Government. But now with the drones keeping a hawk-eye watch, the loss in revenue could be curtailed to the minimum. According to Kurve, illegal mining od sand is going on but at the same time the use drones of is proving to be successful in curbing the nefarious activities. The drones send the photos of illegal mining directly to the office of Collector and the photographs are monitored continuously.
A total of 88 cases of illegal mining were detected in the year 2015-16 and probe is going on. Accused in seven cases were issued notices. This year, auctioning has not taken place at 17 sand ghats and reports of illegal mining at these places pour in. But due to leaking of information at these ghats, a pre-emptive action was a difficult proposition. But with drones at hands, firm action is being initiated and the illegal mining is curbed, Kurve said and added that now, not only the illegal excavators are being caught but hefty penalties are being recovered from them.
In the year 2015-16, those involved in illegal sand mining had attacked three employees murderously in Hingna, Parsheoni and Bhivapur. The three employees had gone to inspect the illegal mining when they were attacked and injured seriously.
The District Collector said that till now auctioning of 56 sand ghats has been done. Out of these ghats, seven come under drone watch. The ghats include Ramdongri, Temurdoh, Alora, Old Kamptee, Mathni, Veena, and Savli. After scanning drone photos from these seven mines, illegal mining has been curbed successfully. According to Government norms, sand from river waters cannot be excavated, JCB machines or other machines cannot be deployed. But all these activities were going on.
Now, when the drones sent images of these activities an immediate action was initiated and the practice was curbed. The use of drones is proving to be a deterrent for illegal mining of sand, Kurve stated.