MKVDC using drones to map crop patterns

Neha Basudkar
Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Vaishali Narkar, Superintending Engineer of Satara Irrigation Circle, told Sakal Times, “4,200 sq km of Pune, Satara and Sangli districts has been covered. The aerial survey of 700 to 800 villages from three districts has been conducted to study crop pattern and water requirement.”

PUNE: In order to plug the revenue loss, Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation (MKVDC) has started mapping the crop pattern for the area under specific crop area under its jurisdiction. By doing so, MKVDC will be able to pinpoint the unaccounted use of water for the purpose of irrigation.

Under this exercise, MKVDC has decided to upgrade the decades-old agricultural maps with the help of aerial survey carried out by Terra Drone India, a subsidiary of Japan-based Terra Drone Corp. This pilot project has already been carried out in the villages of Pune, Sangli and Satara districts.

Vaishali Narkar, Superintending Engineer of Satara Irrigation Circle, told Sakal Times, “4,200 sq km of Pune, Satara and Sangli districts has been covered. The aerial survey of 700 to 800 villages from three districts has been conducted to study crop pattern and water requirement.”

Narkar said, “Since our manpower is limited, Terra Drone India company won the tender floated by the Water Resources Department last year. In Satara, sugarcane cropping is restricted and farmers are planting sugarcane only within permissible limits. Therefore, by using drone technology we will be able to know the detailed information related to crops grown in Satara district and the revenue gap by knowing water released for the crops.”

“50 per cent, which is about 1.25 lakh hectares of land of the Satara district has been mapped using drone technology. According to the earlier records, there was only 7,000 to 8,000 hectares land under sugarcane. Now by using this technology, we came to know that 50,000 hectares of land are under sugarcane crop. Till last year, we used to generate Rs 3 crore of revenue through the water released for sugarcane crop and conducting this drive we will be generating Rs 15 to 20 crore revenue for water supplied for sugarcane crop.” Narkar added.

Wing Commander (Retd) Polu Sreedhar, Chief Operating Officer, Terra Drone India, said, “This project is first of its kind, as drone technology has been never used in the country to map cropping areas. When we superimposed the aerial images acquired by our drones on the Maharashtra government’s old maps, it was discovered that in some areas, un-irrigated land was being used for cultivation purposes, while in others, previously fertile land had been converted into human settlements.”

“In January 2018 the process for this was started and we covered the entire area by aerial activity between March and June 2018. We also conducted the ground activity to verify the data got by aerial activity. This year the data has been submitted to MKVDC. The high-resolution images are only feasible through electronic devices. From the data we are able to view soil, village boundaries, location of people, water locations, crop patterns and water being used for it,” Sreedhar added.

THE PRODUCT
- The MKVDC has started mapping the crop pattern for the area under specific crop area under its jurisdiction using drones.  
- By doing so, MKVDC will be able to pinpoint the unaccounted use of water for the purpose of irrigation.

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