Siliguri, July 3: The Tea Board of India has halted a pilot project by Indian Space Research Organisation and IIT Kharagpur that planned to map three tea gardens in north Bengal using images from satellites.
The pilot project was to be the first step towards satellite mapping all the tea estates in the country.
The board has instead decided to first come to an agreement with research bodies like the Tea Research Association (TRA) in north India and the UPASI Tea Research Foundation in the south.
“The satellite mapping of tea gardens in different states was planned not only to obtain updated data on each estate, but also to use this information to forecast rain, humidity, pest attack and suchlike,” G. Boriah, the director (tea development) of the board, said over the phone from Calcutta.
“As these forecasts are primarily done by experts from these research organisations, it has been decided to first come to an agreement with these bodies and then proceed with the project,” Boriah added. “A meeting was held on June 26 over the issue and we hope to sit again soon.”
The board has also increased the scale of the pilot project. “Instead of three tea gardens, we are thinking of a whole tea-producing district,” Boriah said. “The district is yet to be finalised.”