Agartala, July 25: Tripura signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday with the North-East Space Application Centre run by the central government’s Department of Space for an ambitious set of 20 projects such as satellite mapping for resource mobilisation and utilisation including for early-warning systems for natural disasters.
Tripura is the fourth Northeast state, after Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, to have signed an MoU with the centre for integrating space technology for advanced planning, mobilisation and utilisation of resources.
The MoU was signed by P K Chakraborty, science and technology secretary of the state, and the centre’s director, S P Aggarwal.
“We have got projects for disaster management, environment, geology, mining, healthcare, human resource development and employment, surveying, tourism, water resource management etc. Rs. 423.08 lakh will be spent in the next three years for these projects,” Chakraborty told reporters later.
Tripura, which has reeled under floods for the past several years, could benefit from the project’s early-warning systems, which have based their models on the Dhalai, Gomati, Manu, Howrah and Khowai river basins and will constantly monitor water levels, river basin conditions etc.
A catchment management plan for ten major rivers of Tripura was also completed under the projects.
Aggarwal said Tripura had rich natural resources and tremendous potential for developing agriculture, horticulture, forest, and tourism resources apart from information technology-enabled services for educated youths of the state and that space-based technology inputs would help the state better manage these sectors, apart from setting up disaster management systems.
As part of a move to integrate space technology inputs with innovation, the National Institute of Technology-Agartala set up a space technology incubation centre in 2018.
Aggarwal said the regional space application body was working on wasteland mapping, wetland mapping, groundwater prospects mapping, sericulture and horticulture prospects mapping, site suitability studies for banana, orange, pineapple, mulberry, MUGA and operational feasibility studies for additional intervention projects like malaria control in endemic areas like Dhalai district in collaboration with the Indian Council for Medical Research.
Additionally, forest fires, burn area mapping, lighting hazard mapping, early warning systems and support to state disaster management authorities are also provided from the North-East Space Application Centre.
While several of these projects already existed before the MoU, the agreement has upgraded them with advanced space technology inputs. “We have resources but resource mapping hasn’t been at the level it was desired. Today the world has advanced, and different states have already advanced technology inputs available. In the Northeast, this is an opportunity”, he said.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Tripura Space Application Centre member and deputy secretary Babul Chakraborty explained the MoU was signed as part of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s focus on utilising space technology for development planning and monitoring in the Northeast.
While one of the projects is already completed, the rest will be over by 2024, he said.
The projects also include collaborative initiatives with the home department including satellite mapping and monitoring of illegal cannabis plantations for further action through the narcotics bureau and other enforcement agencies.
Tripura science and technology secretary P K Chakraborty and North-East Space Application Centre director S P Aggarwal hold signed copies of the MoU at Agartala on Monday.