New Delhi– With the objective of curbing illegal mining, the government on Saturday launched the satellite-based Mining Surveillance System, an official statement said.

The system is built up to establish a regime of responsive mineral administration, through public participation, by curbing instances of illegal mining activity through automatic remote sensing detection technology, it said.

The Mines Ministry, through Indian Bureau of Mines(IBM), developed the system, in coordination with the Gandhinagar-based Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics(BISAG) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), to use space technology for curbing illegal mining activity in the country, said a Ministry statement.

Developed under the Digital India Programme, MSS is one of the first such surveillance systems developed in the world using space technology, it said, adding that as the current system of monitoring of illegal mining is based on local complaints and unconfirmed information, there is no robust mechanism to monitor the action taken on such complaints.

Launching the system, Union Mines Minister Piyush Goyal said: “MSS will put a leash on illegal mining through public participation.”

The system checks a region of 500 metres around the existing mining lease boundary to search for any unusual activity which is likely to be illegal mining.

Any discrepancy, if found, is flagged-off as a trigger. An automatic software leveraging image processing technology will generate automatic triggers of unauthorised activities.

In the initial phase, a total of 296 triggers have been generated in the MSS software across the states covering a total area of 3994.87 hectares under the system.

The process is underway to launch a similar system for minor minerals in coalition with the state governments, it said.