Digital validation of databank in limbo
There is uncertainty over validation of the paddy-wetland databank prepared by krishi bhavans.
Fourteen years after the enactment of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008 the validation of agricultural databank using satellite data has reached only the halfway mark.
The verification of data of only 400 of the 920 Krishi Bhavans in the State has been completed. Paucity of funds seems to have hit the project and could delay the validation process during the 2022-2023 fiscal, it is feared.
The validation of the databank using remote sensing and GIS is crucial for ensuring accuracy of the data, a legal prerequisite for the protection of paddyland and wetlands. Wetlands include backwaters, estuaries, fens, lagoons, mangroves, marshes, salt marsh and swamp forests, but do not cover paddyland and rivers.
A four-year work was sanctioned to the Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre for data validation with a yearly target of 125 Krishi Bhavans. The assessment of 400 Krishi Bhavans has been completed and the process of another 100 will be completed soon, says S. Jane Mithra, scientist in charge of the work.
The basic task is to identify any changes in the land use of an area using remote sensing, Geographical Information System, and Global Positioning System, says Dr. Mithra.
The information of paddy and wetland in the 1967 Survey of India topo sheets, cadastral maps on 1: 5,000 scale from the Survey and Land Records department, and high resolution Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data products are used in the process. Open source satellite based datasets were also referred to for identification of the change in land use and land cover pattern, he says.
The data of each locality is extracted and compared with the satellite imageries of 2008, the base year, to find out temporal changes and validation of paddy and wetland during the period. In some cases, holdings that are not paddy or wetland in nature could be wrongly included in the databank and in some other cases wetlands and paddy lands excluded, he says.
The analysis report will be provided to the Agriculture department. Later, agricultural officers will carry out the final verification on the ground and the local level monitoring committee will prepare its report. The databank will become a legally acceptable document once it is notified in the State gazette, he says.
Besides the verification of the databank for the Krishi Bhavans, the centre also offers its service to individual applicants who seek a clarification on the status of their holdings. The centre has thus verified over 40,000 applications, says Mr. Mithra.