Scientists to use images from 1960s to rebuild Ganga

Indian scientists are using declassified satellite images of US military intelligence to “reconstruct the river Ganga of the past”. The military satellite system (code-named CORONA) had acquired photographic images of the entire Ganga river basin during 1960s.

The thought behind the exercise is to establish reference condition of the Ganga river and quantify the changes in morphological characteristics and landuse/land-cover within the Ganga valley between 1960s and present. The move will help in framing policy for ‘desirable’ land-use within the entire river basin,” said Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, director general of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG). Mishra also said that the reconstruction would help us understand the extent of encroachment and siltation over the years.

“We will 19/11/2018 Indian scientists using declassified US military intel images to reconstruct Ganga river basin of the past and use the imagery to formulate the best practices, taking lessons from the past about natural course of the flow. It’ll help us in our ongoing efforts at multiple levels to rejuvenate the river and ensure its ecological flow”, he added.

The task to reconstruct the Ganga river basin of the past ‘from Corona archival imagery’ has been given by the ministry of earth sciences to IIT, Kanpur.

The satellite acquired photographs with a telescopic camera system and loaded the exposed film into recovery capsules. The capsules or buckets were de-orbited and retrieved by aircraft while the capsules parachuted to earth. The exposed film was developed and the images were analyzed for a range of military applications,” said the USGS on its website.

The NMCG – a nodal authority to implement and monitor the centre’s ongoing ‘Namami Gange’ (Ganga rejuvenation) programme – has already been using GIS technology to get minute details of the river basin for its decision-making processes.

Besides, the Survey of India has been using Drones and vehicles with cameras to captured 360 degree panoramic views of the Kumb Mela areas in Uttar Pradesh. The move has helped in identifying polluted drains joining the river Ganga

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