The Tamil Nadu government has told the Madras High Court that the state is considering creating satellite surveillance systems and introducing special squads to check on illegal beach mineral mining in the southern districts of the state. According to media reports, a special team headed by a secretary-level officer is proposed to be formed, and it is also reported that help is being sought from the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics to put in place a Mining Surveillance System.
The TN governmentâ€™s industries department stated this before a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice R Mahadevan, which was hearing PILs relating to the alleged illegal mining of beach sand minerals along coastal regions of TN.
The PILs had claimed that more than Rs. 1 lakh crore worth of minerals had been illegally mined by private companies even after the state governmentâ€™s blanket ban on the mining.
Times of India reports that the state industries department said in court that its meeting on February 17 discussed extending the Mining Surveillance System (MSS), set up special squads to patrol and curb illegal mining and transport beach sand minerals in coastal districts.
The state government also said that of the 68 beach sand mining leases, 62 had already been uploaded by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) online. Anna University has also been requested to get latest satellite images to monitor mining, according to The News Indian Express.
The department also submitted that Customs officials have been asked to ensure that minerals are allowed to be exported only with valid documents. The Centre is being requested to make amendments to the Export-Import policy to ensure no illegally mined minerals are exported.