Forest Deptt developing ASTRA to verify jungle boundaries in Mah

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Oct 2018 10:18:26


By Ramesh Marulkar,

Forest Department is developing Asset Tracking Application (ASTRA) for boundary verification of jungle areas. This is for the first time in the country that Maharashtra is developing such an application.

The use of this app is real time forest governance where credibility and transperancy of governance could be ensured by the department. The app helps in confirming the status of boundary of a beat as marked in the map.
A forest guard will move on the boundary of his beat by downloading the mobile app and then he would upload it on the website of the department. The guard can upload trail, event and asset such as movement, illicit felling, poaching, encroachment, fire, cattle killing, rest houses, check-posts and buildings. The Head of Forest Force and Additional PCCFs can view the information throughout the State while Chief Conservators of Forest, Deputy Conservators of Forest and Range Forest Officers can get information in their jurisdictions.

This was disclosed by Praveen Srivastava, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (IT, Policy), while talking to ‘The Hitavada’ here on Tuesday. The app is being developed under inspirational guidance of Sudhir Mungantiwar, Forest Minister, and overall guidance by U K Agrawal, PCCF (Head of Forest Force). Ajit Dharmik, Owner of 6 Simplex Pvt Ltd., has provided requisite technical guidance of very high degree. Srivastava and Raju Dhabekar, DFO, are working hard in this regard.

Srivastava further said said that the department has so far uploaded 3,000 trials and some changes found such as creation of water bodies in the boundary. He said that the department was providing training to forest guards in this connection. It is expected that all boundaries of the beats would be covered in next two months.

The beat boundary is shown in yellow line, trail in black line, starting point in green spot and ending point in red spot. The forest guard would capture picture of fire, encroachment or deforestation in event category and then the details of a particular event can be filled in a designated format. This information will be loaded on server and then anybody could see all over Maharashtra, he pointed out.

Srivastava said, this is a powerful tool in the hands of the department to ensure forest boundaries protected, maintained, any deformation adding that it can be detected and corrected in time. IT tool helps bring reality of ground on to the monitor of HQ as well as concerned officers to keep better control on the administration. Raju Dhabekar was present during discussion.