Mapping of tea belt in the Darjeelig hills

The Indian Space Research Organization would map the tea belt in the Darjeeling hills. Along with that, Isro would also provide information on the extent of forest cover and ground water situation in the Darjeeling hills through satellite imagery. The proposal was agreed in principle between Isro officials and the Darjeeling Tea Association today coordinated by the Tea Board of India.

As a follow-up to today's meeting, the DTA, which is the negotiating body for the Darjeeling hill based tea plantations, has agreed to send a concrete proposal to the Isro soon. It is likely that monitoring stations would be set up in the seven valleys of the Darjeeling hills for the exercise. Admitting about today's negotiations, the DTA secretary, Mr Sandeep Mukherjee, said: "The Isro has agreed to set up village resource centers in some tea plantations of the Darjeeling hills. A number of facilities related to health, education, pest control, market, soil, infrastructure, agriculture and water management would be provided through the VRCs in addition to tea growing and management."

The DTA has urged the Isro to organize a 72-hour weather forecast for the Darjeeling hills as weather, which is a vital factor for tea growing and manufacturing, has been mischievous for the Darjeeling plantations this year, hurting the industry.

Forewarned by Isro forecasts, the plantations would be able to take precautionary steps henceforth.

In addition to weather forecasts, the DTA has also sought satellite imagery on forest cover and shade tree cover in and outside the plantations along with ground water condition in the Darjeeling hills.

It was learnt that the exercise, which is included in the 11th Five Year Plan would be part financed by the Isro. "The Isro would bear the first three years' expenses along with maintenance and provide the logistical support. The engaging agency, which in this case is the DTA would take over thereafter," the DTA secretary, added.

Source: The Statesman