For the first time, the forest department will count the number of trees in the Aravalli range to determine whether mining can be done in the area. The range covers approximately 7,195 hectares. Until now the number of trees was roughly calculated using global positioning system technology.
"The counting will start next week," said industrial and mining department official YS Malik. "It will be beneficial for us and the government as well," said district forest officer MS Malik.
The department is undertaking this project for another reason: increasing cost of building material.
This means if there are excess trees in the forest, the department will convert them into raw material for buildings, besides allowing mining.
"We will demarcate 4,046 square yards and start counting," said district revenue officer RS Yadav.
According to sources familiar with the mining industry, the counting task will be a nightmare for the forest department as it is a tough task to carry out.
The Aravalli range has 39 villages. The department has just a fortnight to complete the task. Its field officers will have to visit every corner of the forest and mark the trees. The department is already short of staff and will have to use its current strength.
"Under the Forest Act, 1980, counting of trees at an area larger than 10 hectares cannot be done manually. The department doesn't have the necessary equipment too. There is an equipment called 'total station', which cost Rs 15 to R20 lakh. The government has not provided it to us,” said a forest department official who wants to remain anonymous, as the person is not authorised to speak to the media.