SGNP deploys drones to weed out miscreants

Updated: Apr 23, 2020, 07:33 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

National park authority has started using drones on a daily basis to ensure no illegal encroachments or picnickers gather in the vicinity of Vihar lake.

A drone shot of Vihar lake
A drone shot of Vihar lake

As numerous illegal hutments continue to come up in the periphery of Vihar lake and with picnics continuing unabated despite the lockdown, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) authorities have started using drones to keep such activities under check.

Everyday drones are being used and based on the database of photos and videos and action is being taken against illegal encroachments and people entering the park without permission.

Talking to mid-day, Range Forest Officer (RFO), Tulsi Range of SGNP, Dinesh Desale said, "Time and again our staff has been patrolling the area in Tulsi Range and near Vihar lake area. We have started using drones to monitor the activity of people trespassing into the park and also to keep a record of any illegal encroachments that are coming up."

A SGNP official with a drone
A SGNP official with a drone

On April 21, mid-day had done a story (Despite lockdown, picnics continue around Vihar lake) about how activities like picnics on the periphery of Vihar lake were not only unaffected during the lockdown, but some locals claimed that they had increased.

A source from Aarey Milk Colony had even claimed that after the lockdown was implemented, on an average, around 200 to 300 people have been going near the lake daily. The source also alleged that there has been an increase in the construction of hutments there.

"We are making sure that a social distancing is maintained and so our staff has started making announcements using speakers near Vihar lake. If anyone is caught trespassing or found doing any illegal activity, stringent action will be taken against them," Desale added.

"Since the time we have started using drones, there has been a decrease in the number of people trespassing the lake area," he further added.

The forest department officials also said that the use of drones is proving helpful as those illegally entered into the forest or near Vihar lake has started running away seeing the drone flying over them.

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