The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has started providing satellite imagery data on river basins and water resources in the country to a task force on inter-linking of major rivers. ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair told that aerial images of the river basins, valleys and hilly and terrain areas were being provided to facilitate mapping of the linkages since the task force was set up last year.
“These inputs are being made available to the task force on regular basis to chalk out detailed maps on existing rivers and the potential resources where water could be tapped for inter-linking them,” Nair stated.
The satellite images with 5.8m high-resolution pictures will enable the task force, headed by former environment minister Suresh Prabhu, to compile the data and submit a comprehensive report to the government. Incidentally, former ISRO chairman K. Kasturirangan is a member of the task force. “The aerial images are taken by cameras fitted in IRS-1C and IRS-1D and collected by our satellite centres for analysis and detailed studies.
“If the same data and related information is to be collected by conventional methods at the ground level, it will take decades to complete the survey,” Nair asserted. It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had directed the central government to submit a status report by April 23 on the progress made in the project for inter-linking major rivers by 2016. The directive from the division bench of the apex court was given in the wake of a feasibility report on the peninsular component, under preparation. The report is slated for submission by March.
The task force has so far identified 30 major links in the networking of rivers to minimize the devastation caused by floods and hardship due to recurring droughts in several parts of the country. Earlier, releasing Kaksheyalli Bharatha, the Kannada version of “India in Orbit”, a book on the achievements of Indian space organisations and scientists over the decades, Nair said Indian space programs and applications had a far-reaching impact on improving living standards.
With the indigenous development of launch vehicles, communication and broadcast satellites and remote sensing satellites, ISRO has been able to provide multiple space applications and services in diverse areas such as telemedicine, education, watershed development and location of natural resources, including minerals and spring waters.
“By facilitating world class communication links with terrestrial reach, economic activities such as banking, stock markets, commodities and trading have been enhanced with the help of VSATs (very small aperture terminals) that are linked to the INSAT series of satellites orbiting,” Nair affirmed.