Soon, drones to monitor illegal sand mining

The Asian Age.  | Sonali Telang

Metros, Mumbai

There were a record 139,700 illegal mining cases between 2013 and 2017.

Representational picture

Mumbai: Soon, Maharashtra will have its own drones to check on sand mining across the state. According to the state revenue department, the drones will be used at places where sand mining is rampant, and will help check the existing stock of sand in these areas.

An officer from the state revenue department said, “Now Maharashtra will be adopting drone technology to crack down cases of illegal sand mining across the state. It will be of great help to the state, as on several occasions, revenue officers have been attacked by the sand mafia. Through drones, we will be able to monitor the amount of sand being continuously dug across river beds and local police can take action against miscreants in case of illegal mining.”

The Asian Age had earlier reported that the highest number of illegal mining instances had been recorded in Maharashtra as per data compiled by the ministry of environment, forests and climate change. There were a record 139,700 illegal mining cases between 2013 and 2017.

The revenue department further said that a team will be formed to monitor the situation during night time at places where cases of illegal sand mining emerge, and images will be captured through drone technology.

While environmentalists have welcomed the move, they said that stringent action should be taken by the local police against miscreants. “Although it is a very welcoming move, there is an urgent need for criminal action against the culprits. There have been cases across the state of rampant illegal sand mining but hardly any arrests. Moreover, the state needs to come up with a comprehensive policy regarding sand mining,” said Sumaira Abdulali, a Mumbai-based activist working for the cause.