Telangana set to use drones for afforestation campaign

Published on Aug 31, 2021 12:23 AM IST

The project was announced on Monday by state IT minister K.T. Rama Rao (KTR) during the launch of ‘AgHub’, or Agri Innovation Hub, at the Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University (PJTSAU) in Hyderabad.

Information technology & communication (IT&C) and forest departments have partnered with Marut Drones for the project. (Representational photo)
Information technology & communication (IT&C) and forest departments have partnered with Marut Drones for the project. (Representational photo)
By, Hyderabad

The Telangana government has partnered with Marut Drones, a Hyderabad-based startup, to launch a drone-based afforestation project, named ‘Hara Bahara’, under which five million trees will be planted in 12,000 hectares across all 33 districts of the state.

The project was announced on Monday by state IT minister K.T. Rama Rao (KTR) during the launch of ‘AgHub’, or Agri Innovation Hub, at the Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University (PJTSAU) in Hyderabad.

Information technology & communication (IT&C) and forest departments have partnered with Marut Drones for the project.

During the launch of ‘AgHub’, the Seedcopter drone by Marut Drones was unveiled along with the poster launch of the ‘Hara Bahara’ campaign, which the state government has initiated to accelerate the mission of a ‘green Telangana’. The mission was initiated under the state’s ‘Telangana ku Haritha Haram’ programme, which has been running over half a decade to accelerate afforestation.

Addressing delegates and other officials at the event, the state IT minister said, “Forests are essential to maintain a clean and habitable environment for human life, and emerging technologies have potential to support the afforestation efforts. Being already at the forefront of using drones for new use-cases, we are initiating Hara Bahara to plant seeds to increase forest areas across all the districts of the state.”

Seedcopter is an aerial seeding solution for rapid and scalable reforestation. “It’ll not only reverse environmental damage but also create vital employment in rural, tribal and other vulnerable communities. Its core objective is to build strong communities for afforestation and bring awareness at a grassroots level on the effects of deforestation,” said a press release from the state government.

The new project uses drones to disperse seed balls over thin, barren and empty forest lands to turn them into “lush green abode of trees,” the release said. The process will begin with field surveys and mapping of terrain in the state to understand the ecosystem and demarcate the areas needing urgent attention.

‘AgHub’ to support agritech startups

‘AgHub’ has been set up by PJTSAU) as a special purpose vehicle to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture.

The newly launched startup incubator will also have rural innovation centres in other parts of the state to encourage rural innovation, said a note on the new initiative from PJTSAU. “It will cater to the promotion of rural entrepreneurship for building agribusiness enterprises promoted by rural youth, women, farmers and FPOs,” the note said.

The ‘AgHub’ has been granted 9 crore for five years by the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (Nabard), which has funded the incubator under its Rural Business Incubation Scheme (RBIC) scheme

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