India being a megabiodiverse nation has huge natural resources and rich biodiversity with spectacular species of flora and fauna. However, till date a significant part of the nation is either under explored or unexplored in terms of comprehensive surveys with significant details about her natural resources. This is quite unacceptable in the lieu of advanced technology and tools now being made available for various survey works for identifying, locating and mapping natural resources. India’s vast land borders adjoining Pakistan (Kashmir Himalayas), Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar are grossly under developed with poor infrastructure even seven decades post independence. As a consequence several rich biodiversity hotspots along these sensitive border areas have always remained vastly under explored with respect to surveying and mapping.
It is necessary for the major natural resource survey agencies (ZSI, BSI, GSI, ASI) of India to cooperate and coordinate with Central, State and Union Territory governments, intelligence agencies, border security forces and the highly capable Indian armed forces to join hands in exploring border regions for conducting comprehensive land and aerial surveys with modern technological gadgets. Vast sections of Kashmir Himalayas, Ladakh Plateau, Kumaon and Garhwal Himalayas, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh, the Nepal Himalayas, Bhutan Himalayas, Darjeeling Himalayas, Sikkim Himalayas; and the entire NE India with specific emphasis to Arunachal Pradesh, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, all small and big offshore islands of India, the Sunderbans are grossly neglected in terms of comprehensive natural resource and biodiversity survey data.
Even within the country, the Eastern and Western Ghats, the Deccan peninsula, vast areas of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa needs detailed survey and mapping. Several unexplored premier habitats rich in biodiversity, massive virgin forests and wildlife together with trapped natural resources could thus be identified and mapped for future use for the purpose ecological conservation and economic development.
Cooperation and coordination with adjacent nations will be necessary too for collecting information during the survey; but, the prize will be none the less in identifying huge natural resources for the nation that is hiding from modern science. Such surveys will enrich the biodiversity and natural resource map of Indian in future; if conducted sincerely and diligently and with proper planning and management. The survey agencies will need central budgetary allocations for this massive task; but will pay back the country in terms of rich dividends for future. The initiatives are necessary to make this happen.
Saikat Kumar Basu,