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Punjab to use GPS tracking, bar code scanners to check illegal sand mining

 The state government plans to install 24×7 CCTV cameras, besides using drone monitoring, introducing transport permission, GPS tracking system with barcode scanners and one entry and exit points for trucks from the mining sites.

As per the status report submitted by Punjab government’s directorate of environment and climate change on the implementation of ‘Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining’ to the Centre, CCTV cameras capable of recording at 360 degree visibility for monitoring are being installed, district-level task forces have been constituted and demarcation of boundaries has been done at the mining sites by the mining contractors.

Apart from monitoring by a five-member NGT appointed panel, the task of monitoring the conditions of the environmental clearance certificate has also been assigned to the regional offices of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

The recommendations include use of digital technology such as remote sensing data in order to scientifically determine the extent of legal and illegal sand mining in and around the operational sand mining sites in the state.

Earlier, the inspection committee set up by the state following an NGT order last year had discussed the need for remote sensing data or advanced version of google earth software to facilitate the assessment of the extent of mining carried out at specific sites. In a meeting of the panel last year, it was decided to approach the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), Ludhiana to provide assistance to explore the possibility of calculating the extent of mining carried out at the mining sites on the basis of remote sensing maps.

As per the status report, the ‘future plans’ include asking the mining department to develop a model mining site by adopting the steps mentioned as part of the guidelines for control of illegal mining. Also, the process of obtaining environmental clearance for mining cases shall be simplified for the mining cases and district-level task forces would be assigned measurable targets for the inspection of the mining sites.

The report has been submitted by the Punjab government to the impact assessment division of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change. To put in place a monitoring mechanism, the state government had decided to constitute a district level task force (DLTF) under the deputy commissioner with superintendents of police and other officers like the district forest officer and district transport officer as members.


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