BENGALURU: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) seems to be delivering its promises to fishermen, after they were convinced by father of Indian Space Science Dr Vikram Sarabhai to vacate their spot at Thumba beach near Thiruvananthapuram to allow the launch of India’s first satellite.
For launching India’s first sounding rocket (that was sourced in parts from the US), Dr Sarabhai convinced the fishermen at Thumba to vacate and allow the scientists to conduct the mission for the country’s benefit, said Dr Kiran Kumar, former Chariman of ISRO.
He was discussing the use of space technology for societal benefits with a group of foreign delegates at Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, Ministry of External Affairs at Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE), IISc, Bengaluru.
Kumar recalled that years later, Dr Sarabhai’s vision had come to a fruition in 1999 from when, satellites looked at the colour of the ocean in different wavelengths. Later, they were able to identify the chlorophyll, food chain of the fish and thereby the prospective fishing zones.
In other words, fishermen could now navigate into high fish-populous areas in the ocean, instead of wasting their efforts and fuel trying to scout for them. The satellite technology was beneficial to fishermen along the 7,500 km long coastline of India, with the help of a ground-based system which relayed fishing zone information to the fishermen, which was made operational in Hyderabad in 1999.
Dr Kumar said this alone has been saving India anywhere between Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore annually, as petrol and diesel is saved in reaching spots where fish is found in abundance without wasting efforts scouting for them.
He said satellites have also come in handy to warn fishermen about coming cyclones and adverse weather systems to warn them against going out to sea. The information is relayed in respective regional languages for easy understanding of the information for the locals.