Indian to launch forest satellite in 2013

Indian to launch forest satellite in 2013

New Delhi: India will launch a dedicated forest satellite in 2013 which will monitor the country’s forest cover on a daily basis, environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh informed Rajya Sabha on Monday.

“India is adding to its green cover. We do our own satellite imaging and as per the 2007 information, when the imaging was done last, we have added three million hectares of forest cover in the last 10 years. In fact we will be launching a dedicated forest satellite in 2013 which would monitor our forest cover on a daily basis," he said.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said that as his ministry caters to protection of forest cover, it is sensitive towards the issues of tribals, who inhabit the forest.

“Though there is a separate ministry of tribal affairs which caters to interests of tribals, substantial portion of my ministry is related to forest population, which include tribals," he said.

Ramesh said it was a big challenge to ensure livelihood and protection to endangered tribal groups like Jarawas, Great Andamanese and Onges. “We are sensitive towards the issue of these primitive tribal groups. Their numbers have come down to around 2,000. We will try and provide them protection to the best of our abilities," he said.

Ramesh said that the Island Development Authority led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also looking at the issue of providing protection of such tribal groups.