ISRO’s remote-sensing tech to assess crop damage

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PTI

Kolkata

With a view to speed up the process of insurance claim settlement for farmers, the West Bengal government has decided to use ISRO’s data-collection technology to verify and assess the quantum of destruction caused to crops due to severe weather.

According to the state agricultural department, officials are in talks with the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for employing its remote sensing satellite data-acquisition technology to gauge the damage caused to the crops, if any, during the Kharif season.

“This will help us in fast verification of the damage and, in turn, ensure timely submission of data to Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited,” state Agricultural Minister Ashis Banerjee said.

Earlier, agricultural officials had to undertake field visits to assess the damage, after studying the crop’s health factors, which was time-consuming, resulting in delay in preparing the report, and farmers had to wait for several months to get compensation,” the minister said.

The technology-based system of NRSC will ensure faster and more accurate data collection. This is the first and the most vital step in preparing the damage assessment report, which is later submitted to the Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited, he said.

“We have already received the approval of the insurance company. A few days ago, a meeting was held between the insurance company and our department. We have asked our district officials to speed up the process as the Kharif season has already begun,” he said.

The state government had introduced the ‘Bangla Shasya Bima Scheme’ in 2019, under which 46 lakh farmers of the state have benefited. The government has spent Rs 450 crore for the smooth running of the scheme. According to state agricultural department, more than 21 lakh hectares of cultivable land has already been included under the insurance scheme, covering crops such as aman paddy, aus paddy, jute and maize.