Illegal coal mining poses a significant risk to both the environment and the economy of India. In response to this issue, the government has introduced the Khanan Prahari App. This mobile application allows citizens to report any suspicious activities related to coal mining in their vicinity, thereby contributing to the fight against this illegal practice.
The Khanan Prahari App: A Collaborative Initiative
- The Khanan Prahari mobile app is an initiative led by the Ministry of Coal, aimed at curbing illegal coal mining through public participation.
- This app works in tandem with the Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) web portal, developed in collaboration with the Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Application & Geoinformatics and CMPDI, Ranchi.
- By leveraging space technology and e-governance, the government aims to address the multifaceted challenges posed by illegal coal mining.
Objectives of the Khanan Prahari App
The primary objectives of the Khanan Prahari App are as follows:
- Encouraging Public Participation: The app seeks to involve the public in reporting incidents of illegal coal mining, recognizing the crucial role of citizens in combating this menace.
- Transparency and Effective Action: The app employs transparency and space technology to enable authorities to take effective actions against illegal mining activities.
- Importance of Public Involvement: The government acknowledges that public participation is pivotal in the collective effort to combat illegal coal mining and its associated negative consequences.
Key Features of the Khanan Prahari Mobile App
- Reporting Incidents: Users can report incidents of illegal mining using the app. They can provide photographs and comments related to the incident, with the option of geotagging the photographs using GPS location.
- Confidentiality: The app ensures user confidentiality, safeguarding their privacy and security.
- Complaint Tracking: Upon reporting an incident, complainants receive a unique complaint number that allows them to track the status of their complaints within the app.
- Wide Availability: The app is accessible for download on major platforms, including the Google Play Store for Android-based phones and the Apple Store for iOS-supported iPhones.
Illegal Coal Mining: Overview and Challenges
- Definition and Impacts: Illegal coal mining involves extracting coal without proper authorization, resulting in environmental degradation, safety hazards, economic losses, health risks, and social disruption.
- Contributing Factors: Factors such as high demand, lack of livelihood opportunities, inadequate enforcement, and complex approval processes contribute to the proliferation of illegal mining.
Steps Taken by India to Combat Illegal Coal Mining
- Khanan Prahari Mobile App: The app allows citizens to report incidents with geo-tagged photographs and textual information, promoting public engagement in combating illegal mining.
- CMSMS Web Portal: This portal complements the app by centralizing and analyzing data, aiding surveillance and enforcement efforts.
- Increased Surveillance: Satellite technology and geo-informatics enable real-time monitoring of mining activities, facilitating the detection of unauthorized operations.
- Legal Reforms: Streamlining approval processes for legal mining and imposing stricter penalties for illegal mining aim to reduce the incentive for illegal activities.
- Task Forces and Raids: Specialized task forces conduct targeted raids to seize illegal mining equipment and take legal actions against offenders.
Challenges and Future Strategies
- Enforcement Challenges: Enforcing regulations in remote areas with illegal mining operations presents logistical difficulties.
- Corruption: Corruption within law enforcement agencies can hinder control efforts.
- Community Engagement: Sustainable alternatives for livelihoods can reduce dependence on illegal mining.
- Limited Resources: Insufficient resources hinder effective monitoring and enforcement.
- Political and Economic Pressures: Balancing economic growth with environmental and social concerns poses challenges.
- Way Forward: Strategies include integrating technology, strengthening legal frameworks, community participation, transparency, and international cooperation.