In a groundbreaking initiative, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has teamed up with the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to create a novel “Green Cover Index.” This agreement, set for a three-year term, aims to revolutionize the way India’s National Highways are monitored and maintained in terms of their greenery.
Since the Green Highways Policy was introduced in 2015, enhancing greenery along highway corridors has been a key focus for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and NHAI. Traditionally, monitoring of these plantations has been conducted through on-site inspections by field personnel. This new collaboration marks a significant shift towards a more technologically advanced approach.
Leveraging cutting-edge satellite imagery, the NRSC will conduct a comprehensive, nationwide assessment of the green cover along the highways. This “Green Cover Index” is expected to provide a more robust, time-efficient, and cost-effective means of monitoring compared to traditional methods. By utilizing high-resolution satellite data, the project aims to offer a macro-level view of the greenery along these vast stretches of road.
Headquartered in Hyderabad, the NRSC is well-equipped for this venture, with a history of success in satellite data management and remote sensing applications. They have already demonstrated their capabilities in this area through successful pilot projects aimed at estimating green cover along National Highways.
The project’s initial goal is to map the green cover region-wise across the National Highways. Following this, annual assessments will track the growth patterns of this greenery, using scientific methods. These assessments will not only allow for the comparison and ranking of different highways but will also enable targeted interventions in areas lacking sufficient green cover.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this initiative is the level of detail it aims to achieve. Green cover will be estimated for every 1 km of National Highway, allowing for a detailed analysis of individual projects or packages. This endeavor is more than just an ecological assessment; it represents NHAI’s commitment to a greener future and its role in enhancing the environmental well-being of the nation.