Coal India delays Drone deployment due to COVID-19 pandemic

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Deployment of high-end drones at Coalfields by CMPDI, a subsidiary of Coal India, is getting delayed due to COVID-induced lockdowns and other restrictions in several states, even though the company has secured approval for using the equipment from the Centre, an official said.

Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI), the research and technical arm of the miner, is one of the organisations in the country to introduce drones for conducting coalfield surveys.

The company has planned to deploy drones at Coal India mines for specialised survey applications such as generation of high-resolution images, 3D terrain mapping and volumetric measurement of excavation, the official said.

“We are ready to deploy drones as permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has been given. Training for operations and maintenance of data was scheduled from April 25 but it couldn’t be held due to lockdown,” CMPDI GM (Geomatics) Rajneesh Kumar told PTI.

The high-end drones will also be used to map areas and detect spots of underground mine fire which is prevalent in eastern coalfields in West Bengal and Jharkhand, he said.

Currently, two drones with high-end sensors have been procured with each valued at around Rs 2 crore.

“CMPDI will have a distinct edge in terms of technology for various kinds of survey and monitoring jobs which are done on a regular basis. Correct assessment based on drone-generated data will help increase efficiency, productivity and safety in coal mines of the miner,” Kumar said.

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