Wednesday, April 09, 2008 Kolkata: The Tea Board has tied up with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for advance mapping of tea plantations spread across India through remote sensing techniques.
The Board has also inked collaborations with IIT Kharagpur and Centre for Development of Advance Computing for upgrading tea processing technologies. This is under the technological and HR initiatives of the Board for which Rs 120 crore have been allocated by the Union commerce ministry.
Funds for workers healthcare and education have increased four times in the XIth Plan.
Basudeb Banerjee, chairman, Tea Board, told DNA Money, “Isro with specialised remote sensing technology will help us compiling a complete cadastral data. Being an integrated management tool to furnish all kinds of data for the tea industry, the entire exercise will be a dynamic one. The project initiation will be across 5 lakh hectares.”
The entire exercise to be conducted by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will profile garden-wise data and indicate areas for new plantations and alternate cropping. All other kinds of data including soil, forest cover and land maps will be superimposed to give a complete picture of the gardens.
Warning signals of red spider mite could be indicated with tea bushes turning red through remote sensing technology.
“We are planning to set up a branch of the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Planning and Management in Jorhat in Assam. A host of HR initiatives for plantation workers’ are being worked out. Almost 50% of the funds allocated for HR purposes in the Plan period will go towards healthcare of tea workers. The balance will go towards education of the workers’ children and training of workers,” Banerjee said.
Any effort towards helping these workers is significant especially during difficult times that the Indian agro economy is facing, feel industry observers.