Wednesday, October 16, 2019
facebook
Himachal

Posted at: Dec 29, 2018, 1:41 AM; last updated: Dec 29, 2018, 1:41 AM (IST)

Defence Ministry’s no to drone mapping of glaciers

Security reasons behind refusal | State may lose Rs 40-lakh project

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 28

Himachal may lose the Rs 40-lakh project for drone mapping of Himalayan glaciers as the Ministry of Defence has refused to permit its use in view of border area sensitivity.

The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, had approved the project. The State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, the agency which was to execute the project, had obtained permission from the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and Home.

“The Ministry of Defence has turned down our request for allowing the use of drones to map the glaciers in the Himalayan region,” Kumar Satyarthi, Member Secretary, State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, said. Even though the Government of India has now come out with a drone policy, with the ministry’s no, the project will now have to be surrendered.

With issues like climate change, global warming resulting in receding glaciers and accelerated pace of melting, monitoring of glaciers has assumed great significance. Though the council has undertaken several such studies through satellite imagery, drones would have given additional information on the issue.

It was on December 24 that the High Court had asked the Industries Department to explore the possibility of use of drones to check illegal mining. The court has sought the response of the state government after the Industries Department stated that the installation of closed circuit cameras at certain points had failed to serve the purpose. The government has been asked to see if the procedure will be economically viable and prove to be useful.

A study of 302 glaciers in Kullu district by Dr SS Randhawa, senior scientific officer, between 1962 and 2002 has indicated 14 per cent deglaciation while during the period between 2002 and 2006, it was 8 per cent. This clearly indicates that the deglacaition is taking place at a faster pace. Even in case of Spiti, 21 per cent deglaciation had taken place between 1962 and 2000, while from 2001 to 2007, it was 8 per cent.

The State Council for Science, Technology and Environment has already used drones to map the entire forest area in Jakhu and Kanlog wards of the Shimla Municipal Corporation to check illegal felling.

The experiment has been successful with little error and drones are now likely to be used for protecting forests not just within Shimla MC, but in the entire state.

Satyarthi said the council was in the process of purchasing four drones, which could be put to multiple uses, including checking illegal mining, felling of trees, process to purchase, urban development planning and also in hydro power projects. He added that the council could use drones for catering to the private sector needs.

Govt was sounded about drone use

  • On December 24, the High Court had asked the Industries Department to explore the possibility of use of drones to check illegal mining. 
  • The court has sought the response of the state government after the Industries Department stated that the installation of closed circuit cameras at certain points had failed to serve the purpose. 
  • The government has been asked to see if the procedure will be economically viable and prove to be useful. 

COMMENTS

All readers are invited to post comments responsibly. Any messages with foul language or inciting hatred will be deleted. Comments with all capital letters will also be deleted. Readers are encouraged to flag the comments they feel are inappropriate.
The views expressed in the Comments section are of the individuals writing the post. The Tribune does not endorse or support the views in these posts in any manner.
Share On