Goa Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane on Monday said that he would instruct his department to monitor the state’s eco-sensitive areas using satellite and Google imagery every 15 days. Rane released pictures of a hill in the Vagheri area of Sattari in north Goa, captured through satellite imaging, and showed the depleting green cover from its top. He said that Vagheri Hill would be declared an eco-sensitive area and a file in this regard has been moved.
Rane, who held a meeting with officials of the forest department and the Town and Country Planning department, said that an inquiry will be initiated in this regard. The Vagheri Hill is located near the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.
Sharing the images on social media, Rane said: “We can see that the #hill at #Vagheri has been cleared from the top, but no report has been filed. This is done by a few landowners who have sold their property to outsiders. The whole point is to show the people how the canopy has been removed. This was brought to my attention using the satellite and #Google imagery. I will instruct the department to adopt this technique to monitor eco-sensitive areas every 15 days.”
Rane said that a nodal officer will be appointed for it with a team to monitor such violations “so that people don’t take advantage of the law. Lawbreakers will be taken to task”. Rane also said that the historic imagery toolbar can trace images back to the 1980s but high-resolution imagery with a resolution of 5-15 metres is available for free from 2002 to 2005. “By using this tool, one can have complete control without visiting the location. Satellites, as we all know, do not lie,” he said.