In a bid to control funds misused in the name of plantation,the forest department is planning to upload the pictures of all the plantation sites in Pune district on Google Earth. The department had last year announced an initiative to track plantation drives in the district through Satellite Image Monitoring System.
Anyone who wants to check the sites where plantation was carried out in 2011-2012 can log into Google Earth where we have uploaded quadrinates and polygons. Not only officials but even citizens can cross-check the actual sites of plantation to see if specified number of trees were planted or not, said Jeet Singh,chief conservator of forests.
Quadrinates are dimensions of latitude and longitude on the map while polygons are the satellite maps of tree plantation sites. The work on the initiative,which started in April 2012,was completed two months ago. Alternatively,the satellite based monitoring records can also be viewed on the website of the department http://www.mahaforest.nic.in.
According to Singh,along with quadrinates and polygons,the department also plans to upload photos of 2011-2012 plantation carried out in Pune district. Some of the photographs have already been uploaded on Google Earth under Geo Tagged Photos. As of now,one can view photographs of plantation sites in Kolhapur Circle (Satara Division) under the scheme Compensatory Afforestation and photographs of tree plantation carried out under MREGS scheme at Chandrapur Circle (Brahmapuri Division).
We have captured photographs of all the 150 plantation sites from different angles. The pictures shows the condition of plants in differrnt seasons. All this will bring about transparency in the process, said Singh,adding that it will take another two months to complete the process. Once all the pictures are uploaded,they will also be available on the forest department s website.
Since the forest staff was not equipped with the technology,it took around three months to train them in operating Global Positioning System (GPS). Now the whole ground staff works independently with the GPS equipment, he said.