Forest-related activities, funds, schemes or their violations in Karnataka can now be accessed and monitored electronically.

The Department of Forests on Friday launched two e-governance portals aimed at transparency and efficiency: e-Green Watch to monitor and manage Central afforestation funds; and Bhuvan Karnataka Forest to monitor the State’s forests.

e-Green Watch is a one-stop point for information on the flow of funds received under the central CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority).

Bhuvan Karnataka, called a special technology to watch over the State's forests, gives detailed location and satellite images of any area or project under various schemes in the State. It can keep an eye over activities like mining. Over 12,000 assets under different schemes are on this system developed with ISRO’s arm, the Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Centre. It is based on “Bhuvan”, an ISRO product similar to Google Earth, officials said.

Launching e-Green Watch, Minister of Forests C.P. Yogeshwarn said the online resources should be used to clearly demarcate the State's forest boundaries.

P.J. Dileep Kumar, Director-General of Forests and Special Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment & Forests, said Rs. 25,000 crore had been collected under the Central afforestation fund CAMPA, which was easily the only fund in the world to restore a country’s ecosystem.

However, Karnataka had started getting back its interest in investment in instalments only now, he said.

The funds should be used to strengthen and equip the frontline forest staff with suitable vehicles and monitoring equipment, he said.

According to A.K. Wahal, Director-General, Forest Survey of India, the FSI will train 200 field personnel from the State this year in GPS and GIS-based systems. Karnataka should emulate Madhya Pradesh which has given PDAs (personal digital assistants) to its staff, he said.

The State Forest Department also has its a new portal, aranya.gov.in.

An upgraded Forest Produce Tracking System version 3.0 is now in place to track and manage mineral movement across the State's forests, an official said. The system was started in November last year.

V.K. Dadhwal, Director of NRSC; P.G. Diwakar, Director of ISRO Earth Observation System; and A.K. Varma, State's Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Head of Forest Force, were present.

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