Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ahmedabad ISRO centre to map Himalayan region

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad will undertake mapping and tracing of the Himalayan region to keep track of the movement of glaciers and their health. This is to put in place governance and management of the Himalayan eco-system.

Addressing a press conference here, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said the latest initiative was aimed at putting in place India’s own research capacity, which was now lacking in substance and more dependent on outside support.

He released a report, “Governance for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem: Guidelines and Best Practices (G-SHE).” The report will be a key input in the formulation of a National Mission for sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem under India’s National Action Plan for Climate Change.

“The mission aims to scientifically study the impact of climate change on Indian Himalaya and put in place adaptation measures to meet the growing challenge. The mission will bring together the efforts of climatologists, glaciologists, other experts as well as local stakeholders.”

The G-SHE report was meant to be a working document, to provide the basis for new approaches and practices. The report has been put in the public domain, including on the Ministry website. Comments and inputs have been sought from the State governments, domestic and international institutions, civil society, local communities and other stakeholders.
Glaciologists institute

The Minister said the government decided to set up a National Institute of Himalayan Glaciologists in Dehra Dun. It would become India’s main centre of excellence for monitoring the Himalayan glaciers. “We will join hands with Bhutan, China and Nepal to study the health of the glaciers.”

Mr. Jairam also announced the setting up of 15 fully automated weather stations in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh to monitor the climate in the Himalayan region and help authorities in preparing data and research profile. The first of these would become operational in a couple of days at Almora in Uttarakhand.