Sabarmati illegal sand mining: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday launched a drone surveillance project. The step comes in wake of the illegal sand mining activity happening on the 60 kilometres stretch of the “sensitive” Sabarmati riverbed in the districts of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Sabarkantha. The Gujarat government has taken this step to keep a tab on the situation. This is the first time when the Gujarat government has decided to use a drone with “night-vision” to keep a check on the illegal mining. This state government’s new project has been named the ‘Trinetra Drone Surveillance System,’ PTI reported.
According to a release issued by the state government, this is the first time when TDSS will be deployed on four major rivers of the state, namely- Sabarmati, Tapi, Orsang and Bhadar. The release added that the system (TDSS), in the future, will also be implemented in other sectors to keep a watch on mines and mineral deposits spread over an area of two lakh square kilometres of the state.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that it would prove effective in stopping illegal sand mining. He added that a central command and control room would also be set up for the purpose and also asked other departments like Water Resources as well as Road and Building to consider deploying drones. The minister had also directed two drones to take off from the roof of the Petrography and Mineral Chemistry Laboratory at Raisan village in Gandhinagar on the same day.
The Commissioner of Geology and Mining department, Roopwant Singh inaugurated the project and said, “In order to ensure that all the royalty from mining comes to the state treasury, it is very important to stop illegal mining… It is also physically difficult to keep a tab on the mining areas that are spread on two lakh square kilometres in Gujarat. So we are starting drone surveillance today,” according to an Indian Express report. He added, “The project is being started with illegal mining happening in sensitive areas of river-beds of the state. We are starting with Sabarmati river-bed, but soon we will extend it to (river-beds of) Orsang, Tapi, Bhadar and other sensitive areas.”
Discussing the details and costing of the night-vision drones that will be used for surveillance, Singh said that in the initial stages, three drones will be used for surveillance on three different spots on a 60 kilometre stretch covering Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Sabarkantha. “All of the drones have night-vison capability and can be operated at night. Silicon IT Hub Pvt Ltd will be providing us with the surveillance services and we will paying Rs 10.50 lakh per month for 50 hours of surveillance. It is a one year project,” he said.