Home E-Governance Satellite imagery exposes India’s illicit opium farms

Satellite imagery exposes India’s illicit opium farms

New Delhi, India: Latest high resolution satellite imageries indicated that the actual areas in India growing poppy for manufacturing of illicit drugs like heroin, morphine may be six times more than previously estimated.
A report published in an Indian daily stated, “The usage of high resolution data indicates the acreage estimation by interpreting medium resolution images is not accurate. The estimates from medium resolution images appear to be gross underestimation by approximately by a factor of 6. It means the actual illicit cultivations of poppy are expected to be six times more than what has been predicted so far.”
The Advanced Data Processing Research Institute (ADRIN) had acquired high resolution multispectral data for a portion of West Bengal, which was analysed. So far, all estimates were based on medium resolution imagery.
Under the department of space, ADRIN is mandated to carry out satellite surveys to locate illicit poppy farms and determine the acreage.
The acreage estimates for ten states – Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Karnataka, J&K, Bihar, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh – for the years 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 were estimated at 14,200, 10,851 and 15,598 acre respectively. These figures depicted a drastic rise when high resolution imagery was used.
Legally, opium is cultivated in India in about 15,000 acre with strict controls in place.
Source: Hindustan Times