ISRO to help development projects in Northeast India: Jitendra Singh
Union minister Jitendra Singh chairing a high-level meeting

New Delhi: Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will assist development projects in the Northeast by offering optimum utilisation of satellite imaging and other space technology for better accomplishment of targets.

Chairing a high-level meeting with senior officers of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and ISRO scientists, Singh said six out of the eight states of the Northeast have already sent their proposals for execution by the ISRO, while the remaining two, Sikkim and Assam, will send their proposals soon.

The ISRO will assist development projects in the Northeast through space technology and will contribute by offering optimum utilisation of satellite imaging and other space technology applications for better accomplishment of infrastructural projects in all eight states, he said.

Singh said the ISRO is already monitoring and geo-tagging 67 projects at 221 sites in all eight states funded by the Ministry of DoNER and the NEC.

He said this is the first of its kind in the whole country where there is an institutionalised involvement of the ISRO in mapping and sharing of data for developmental projects and it can become a model for other states too.

The minister said one of the major highlights of the Modi government has been that in the last seven years, the ISRO is no longer confined mainly to the launching of satellites, but it has been constantly enlarging its role in development activities, thus contributing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mission of “transforming India”.

The North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) at Shillong has received several proposals from the Northeastern states.

It would be discussing the feasibility and desirability of all such projects, one by one with each of the states in the next fortnight. Once identified, all such projects are likely to be funded jointly by respective states and the NESAC.

Singh said Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Shillong and held a meeting with the NESAC in January this year where major projects to be taken up were flagged.

Some of the important projects on which work is under progress are the mapping of forest gap areas, expansion of the land area for horticulture development, identification and rejuvenation of wetlands and diversion of floodwater, assessment of bamboo resources for livelihood needs.

The minister said the home minister is likely to visit the centre again in July to review the progress of the projects.

He said despite the crippling effects of the COVID-19, much headway was made in the execution of these projects.

Singh said in the Northeastern region, space technology is now being used in diverse sectors, including agriculture, railways, roads and bridges, medical management, telemedicine, procurement of timely utilisation certificates, disaster forecast and management, weather, rain, flood forecast.

Senior officials from the ISRO informed the minister that seven projects from Arunachal Pradesh in areas like dam construction and flood mitigation, three model villages, horticulture and border fencing at zero levels are nearing completion.

Similar projects from other states are also on way to achieve target.

The NESAC is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Space and located in Shillong and provides dedicated service to the region’s eight states viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

The centre was set up with a vision to play the catalytic role in the holistic development of the Northeast by providing space science and technology support on natural resource management, infrastructure planning, healthcare, education, emergency communication, disaster management support, and space and atmospheric science research.

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