Shimla: In a bid to check the illegal cutting down of trees and protect forest cover in the state, the Himachal Pradesh Forest and Environment Department is going to start a surveillance pilot project that will keep a tab on such illegal activities through satellite.

The Himachal and Gujarat governments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch a geo-stationary satellite “Aryabhatt Geo-Stationary Satellite”, which is likely to get operational from December this year.

“We have developed software that will track the movements that lead to violations of environmental laws. The pilot project is likely to be started by December this year,” said A S Roy, Additional Chief and Principal Secretary, State Forest and Environment Department.

The satellite will help the department to take stock of the cutting down of forest on both public as well as private lands by taking pictures and videos of such movements.

(JPN/ Bureau)