Latest gizmos for Goa forest officers to curb poaching

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Panaji, Feb 25 (PTI) Forest officers working on ''groundzero'' will be equipped with latest gadgets and vehicles amidstreports of increased poaching in Goa''s wildlife sanctuaries.

Environmentalists in the state had earlier claimed thatpoaching in the wild has increased as the forest departmentwas ill-equipped to deal with the issue.

The department, in a major decision recently, has decidedto give Global Positioning System (GPS) equipments, installwireless network and also provide jeeps to officers whoconduct patrolling in the thick woods.

A senior forest officer said the state has received fundsto the tune of Rs 12.10 crores from Compensatory AfforestationFund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), which will bepumped in for acquiring the required infrastructure.

"The order is already placed for 10 jeeps which will beprocured before March, this year," he said.

The department has decided to go for wireless networkthat connects the guard to the base station and also to theoffice of Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest(APCCF) in Panaji.

The department had already provided mobile sets toofficers to the level of forester.

"But there are some difficulties as there is no mobilerange in state''s rural areas. Wireless handsets will comehandy in such situation," he said.

As against Goa''s popular image of being a beachdestination, it has six wildlife sanctuaries and almost halfof the state''s geographical area is under forest cover.

Forest officers said fundings for infrastructure creationwas a major issue till windfall came in the form of CAMPA.

"For financial year 2010-11, Rs 12.10 crore were providedunder CAMPA, of which works for almost Rs 11.90 crores aresanctioned," a senior official said adding fund of Rs 10.10crore is expected under CAMPA for the state, next fiscal.

The department has installed several patrolling towers inforest areas and also purchased much needed sophisticatedanimal rescue equipments for its staff.

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