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Mapping data reveals wasteland decline in India

New Delhi, India: A national wasteland atlas noted that India’s wasteland declined more than 5 lakh hectares during 2005-2008 with many States reclaiming the infertile area for industrial purpose, creation of plantation cover and agricultural purpose. The survey was conducted by the Rural Development Ministry in collaboration with the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC).

The NRSC had mapped land use in 2005 and repeated the exercise in 2008 to know the changes. It found that Rajasthan, Andhra, Manipur, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka witnessed a significant decrease in wasteland area.

The report further stated that wasteland during 2005-08 declined by 3.2 million hectare while increase in wasteland was to the tune of 2.7 million hectare. The atlas also indicated more than 13,769 hectare of wasteland has been used for industrial purpose with states such as Karnataka (2965 h), Gujarat (2319 h), Rajasthan (1638 h), Tamil Nadu (1537 h) and Andhra Pradesh (1087 h) have been leaders in using wasteland for setting up industries.

The atlas revealed that 1.3 million hectare of wasteland have been used for agricultural activities with states such as Rajasthan (0.5 mh), Gujarat (0.2 mh), Bihar (0.1 mh) and Jharkhand (0.1 mh) are the leading states.

“Such detailed district level mapping would help us in focusing on areas where wasteland could be used for economic and ecological benefits,” Indian rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said.

Source: The Financial Express