The Assam government is planning large scale use of drones for surveillance activities to prevent wildlife poaching and timber smuggling.

Principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) and Head of Forest Force AM Singh said the state forest department has procured three drones for this purpose.

He said two of them are of high quality and equipped with night cameras and costs around Rs 17 lakh each.

“Two of the drones are being now used in Kaziranga National Park. They were of lot of help to locate stray animals during the floods,” The Assam Tribune quoted Singh as saying.

The PCCF said the department is in the process of training master trainers for handling the drones.

Training of the staff at Kaziranga and its adjoining divisions is being done.

“We intend to use these drones extensively for surveillance purpose. Over the next few weeks, we would use them to survey the state of forests in the inter-State border areas,” Singh added

The move comes days after Arunachal Pradesh allegedly began constructing a road inside a reserve forest at Lakhimpur.

A report on the matter has been submitted by the forest department to Assam’s home department for necessary action.

“There are certain inaccessible areas where we actually do not know what is happening. These drones will be able to give us a picture of the ground. We just need to put the coordinates and operate it,” said the forest department chief.

“Once we get the picture, we can then take up issues, if any, with the neighbouring States,” Singh said.

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