Forest Department Set to Acquire Drones (Kollam, India)


Dileep V Kumar, New Indian Express

Date Published

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have a significant role in the modern defence mechanism. Now, the Kerala Forest Department may too join the elite club, albeit more in a patrolling capacity. The department is weighing the possibility of using drones in its forest ranges.

The department had conducted a field test at the Kottur forest area in Thiruvananthapuram on December 2015, but without generating the desired results. Sources said the drone had failed to capture the details on the ground as the dense canopy blocked its view.  So, the department has directed the agency, which is suggested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), to rework the specifications of the drone.

S C Joshi, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Development and Participatory Forest Management), confirmed to Express that the field tests would continue though the drone failed to produce the expected result.  Asked if the decision to use drones was taken after the massive elephant poaching instances in the forest areas, Joshi said it was mooted even before that.

“But once the elephant poaching case became a hot topic everyone realised the need of UAV in our forest areas. The possible presence of Maoists, poachers and timber smugglers could be checked through this,” added Joshi.