Town and Country Planning Minister Vishwajit Rane, who also holds the forest portfolio, went on an overdrive moving a file proposing to declare the Vagheri Hills in his Sattari bastion an 'eco-sensitive area' months after the administration did little to halt the clearing of trees there in January last.
Rane said, he has called a meeting of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Range Forest Officers (RFOs) and other forest officials to discuss the proposal.
Officials of the TCP department will also be invited, he added.
Using micro-blogging site Twitter, Rane had early on Monday morning said that satellite imaging by Google brought to his notice indicates that the hill at Vagheri has been cleared but no report has been filed.
"We can see that the hill at Vagheri has been cleared from the top, but no report has been filed. This is done by a few landowners who have sold their property to outsiders," one tweet by Rane said.
"The PCCF, CCF, North & South DCF and a member-secretary will lead an investigation on the systematic #forest canopy clearance. The report must be submitted as soon as possible. CTP from the north and south will also be included. An inquiry will be initiated in this regard," said another tweet by the minister.
Rane also said, he will ask the Forest department to adopt Google satellite imagery to monitor eco-sensitive zones every 15 days.
"The historic tool bar can go back to 1980s, however, high resolution imagery is available for free with a resolution of 5-15 meters from 2002 to 2005. By using this tool, one can have complete control without visiting the location," he tweeted.
"Satellites, as we all know, do not lie," he added.