New Delhi: Drones will soon fly over Delhi's forests to monitor encroachments and breach of boundaries of protected forest areas.
The Forest Department has formulated a plan and it would soon be submitted to the Delhi government.
"We will soon procure drones, which are battery-operated machines gliding silently through the air to have realistic data on the extent of forest land, encroachment or threat to boundaries of reserved or protected forests.
"With this we will move on to the second generation technology for monitoring and surveillance of wildlife," said Sanjiv Kumar, Secretary of Environment and Forest.
"The department has digitised and uploaded the forest area maps in our possession. These maps have been provided to Revenue Department for authentication," informed Kumar.
The department will hold discussions with the Wildlife Institute of India and Madhya Pradesh government which are also implementing the same.
"The cost of a drone will be in the range of Rs 3,00,000 to Rs 6,00,000. A drone can be put on autopilot mode and sent as far as 40-50 km deep into the forest where it can record images and videos and transmit them on a real-time basis. Its movement can also be controlled through a GPS-based system called Ridge Protection Management System," said Kumar.
Travelling at a speed of 40 km per hour, the drones can be used for around 40-50 minutes at one go. They can be brought back to the base station, recharged, and sent back several times in a day.
In due course of time, no objection certificates (NOCs) will be also taken from the Ministry of Defence and Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA), Kumar said.
According to a Forest Department officials, there is severe encroachments in forest areas of Delhi especially in the Ridge area.
"There is several illegal constructions in the forest land. These encroachments come to light only by visual interpretation of satellite imageries. Almost 40 per cent of Delhi's total forest area is encroached and needs to be regularised," said the official.