ITANAGAR- (By Pradeep Kumar) Changlang district administration has made it mandatory for trucks transporting logs to have GPS fitted in them and ply only during daytime to check illegal felling of timber, which is on the rise in the frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh.
According to India State of Forest Report 2021, Arunachal Pradesh has lost about 257 sqkm of its forest cover. The 2021 assessment put the forest cover at 66,430.67sqkm against 66,687.78 sqkm in 2019.
Changlang DC Devansh Yadav, who has been taking various innovative steps for the welfare of the people since assuming charge, told this daily on Friday that fitting of global positioning system (GPS) would help track the movement of vehicles and enable a person to know the exact position of a vehicle or an individual. Thus, it was introduced recently with the cooperation of truck owners, he said.
The move was triggered by public complaints about more timber being felled than the permitted quantity and beyond permitted areas as there are areas, like reserve forests or water bodies where felling is not allowed, he reasoned.
Informing that Miao and Jairampur in the district have been hit by illegal felling of trees, Yadav said that while looking for a solution it was found that there was no data of vehicles used for transporting logs to saw mills and furniture manufacturing units in the district.
“Work on preparing the data started in October. Then it was decided to get the trucks fitted with GPS to monitor end-to-end movement to ensure there was diversion from allotted route in the district. Truck owners have supported the initiative,” he said, adding over 50 trucks have been fitted with GPS of total 100 timber-carrying trucks in the district.
In 2019, the Assam excise department had made it mandatory for all Arunachal–based liquor and beer manufacturing companies and units using Assam’s roads for transportation of their products to install GPS in their vehicles to check diversion of liquor to Assam where the cost of liquor is higher than in Arunachal.
Each GPS installation by a Delhi-based company costs about Rs 3,000, a forest department official said, adding the GPS installation would also help truck owners keep a tab on the movement and timing of their vehicles. Besides making GPS mandatory for trucks carrying timber to 15 saw mills and 38 furniture-making units, Changlang DA has barred them from plying in night. There will be only daytime movement to ensure effective daily monitoring by the forest department, he added.