Bhubaneswar: In a first, in Coal India Ltd. (CIL) an  innovative  Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) at Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) was inaugurated on Wednesday.

Designed by the MCL’s Innovation Cell and the department of E&T, the portal named “Vihangam’ for remote monitoring was created by a Mumbai-based start-up of drone manufacturing, robotics and automation.

This state-of-art initiative will enable the Company to access real-time video through the internet and  pave the way for other allied potential use-cases of drones in mines.

The CIL chairman Pramod  Agrawal , also laid the foundation stone for Rs 285.05 crore first mile connectivity (FMC) project — Lajkura SILO, which would add 15 million tonne per annum despatch capacity to the MCL.

The chairman also commissioned four 100 tonne dumpers and one mobile water sprinkler at Samleshwari OCP.

Carrying forward the vision of sustainable mining, MCL is implementing nine FMC projects to provide pollution-free state-of-the-art rake loading system at a total capital expenditure of Rs 3,600 crore. This will also generate a despatch capacity of 126 million tonne per year, expected to be achieved by the year 2024.

MCL was the first coal company to introduce environment-friendly Surface Mining technology in 1999. The biggest fleet of 66 Surface Miners is contributing 95 per cent of the total coal production of the company.