Portals to provide info on green projects

Forest depts e-Green watch, Bhuvan-Karnataka will also keep tabs on mining

Portals to provide info on green projects

To arrest the shrinking environment space, and provide a platform for concerned citizens to know the efforts of the Karnataka Forest department, the State government on Friday launched two new web portals.

The portals will provide information on afforestation projects and expenditures incurred by Karnataka to protect the environment in the State.

The website, e-Green watch portal, wherein all the details under the Forest Conservation Act (FC) and the proposals cleared under the Act will be placed in public domain, is expected to toe the Right to Information (RTI) Act line.

The portal will show expenditures incurred from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) fund along with the estimated costs, photographs and geo-locations of work, uploaded by the  Division office/Range office concerned. The access to the portal is available from the CAMPA website.

Currently, the data uploaded on the website shows 1,273 plantation works and 4,352 other projects, which include the construction of boundary pillars, watch towers, etc; man-animal conflict management works such as solar fences, elephant-proof trenches, cattle-proof trenches, infrastructure development works, etc.

Another portal, Bhuvan-Karnataka, based on the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) platform of Bhuvan will try to keep tabs on the mining activities in the forest region of the State.

The portal, accessible from Bhuvan website, will also provide information relevant to the forest region with the uploading of details such as photos, geo-location and estimates in a simple and user-friendly manner.

The portal will monitor the forest assets, 12,000 of which have been uploaded, and keep  tabs on the mining leases in the forest region.

Inaugurating the web portals, Minister for Forests and Ecology, C P Yogeeshwara admitting that illegal mining had caused a lot of forest cover to be destroyed, said that there seems to be no solution to curbing illegal mining.

“We are also facing a lot of pressure from outside, on implementing certain regulations which have been directed by the Supreme Court or the State government. And this being the last phase of our (BJP) government, I understand the pressures under which the
officials are functioning,” he said.

The Director General of Forests and Special Secretary to the Union Ministry of Environment, Dr P J Dilip Kumar said that the State needs to concentrate on strengthening the ‘frontline’ of the Forest department by utilising the CAMPA funds.

Responding to this, Principial Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) A V Varma said that the Karnataka Forest department has already procured 160 vehicles (60 two-wheelers) for their range officers to patrol the forests and will be adding another 160 vehicles by March 2013.

Online access

Proposals are now being mooted by the Karnataka Forest  department to link the felling of trees by farmers on their farms, to Bhoomi.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), A V Varma said the Information Technology wing of the department was already trying to tackle the issue.  

“There has been a proposal to ensure that farmers need not approach the Forest department for felling certain trees which have been exempted under the rules and regulations. We are therefore planning to link the tree felling permission to Bhoomi and ensure that the felling permission can be accessed online,” said Varma.

Toll-free number

The Karnataka Forest department has also launched a new toll-free number for citizens to secure information on the Forest department activities, fire occurrences, wildlife offence or register their complaints.

The IVRS number 1800-425-1314 will help citizens by either recording their message or by gathering information from the respective range control rooms.

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