NeUIM-2022, the 1st edition of North Eastern Space Applications (NESAC) Centre User Interaction Meet was held during 23-24 May, 2022 via Hybrid (online/in-person) mode. The inaugural event on 23 May, 2022 commenced with a lighting of the lamp followed by a welcome note by Dr. S.P. Aggarwal, the Director, NESAC. The inaugural event was chaired by Shri S. Somanath, Chairman ISRO, and Secretary, Department of Space (DOS) as Chief Guest via virtual mode. During his speech, he stressed on the importance of the North Eastern Region (NER) of India in terms of biodiversity, natural resources as well as the data generated atop them and mentioned about the importance of betterment of governance using space and drone technology. Another point he made was regarding the expansion of outreach activities so as to spread greater awareness among the users about space technology solutions. Shri Calvin Harris Kharshiing, IA & AS, North Eastern Council (NEC) graced the occasion as Guest of Honour and he spoke at length about the history of NEC and NESAC and how this has served as an enabler to help state centres stand on their own feet with implementation of projects. He also spoke about the usefulness of the North Eastern Spatial Data Repository (NeSDR) and project monitoring portals and the fact that they were being used extensively by the state and line departments. He concluded by stating that user interaction meets are an important means of uplifting the NER to be at par with the rest of India as regards to developmental activities. The inaugural event was also elevated by the distinguished presence of the Scientific Secretary of ISRO, Shri Shantanu Bhatwadekar, Dr. Prakash Chauhan, Director, NRSC and Dr Anil Bhardwaj, Director, PRL. Shri Bhatwadekar praised NESAC for having successfully implemented more than 300 projects in the last 21 years which are currently being used extensively by the user agencies and mentioned how NESAC has been able to carve a niche for itself in the geospatial domain by its use of geo-web services, analytics, mobile apps, UAV services and disaster management activities. He added that it is important to understand users not just in terms of the data used but also applications required. Dr. Chauhan mentioned the uniqueness of the problems of the region which makes user interaction particularly important. He stressed on the need to address the threats and challenges posed by climate variability as well as gaps in requirements and to identify potential to provide services to the users. He assured that NRSC shall continue to support NESAC whole heartedly in future as well. Dr Bhardwaj in his address spoke about the uniqueness of the NER region in terms of the topography, meteorology and terrain and their variations. He mentioned about collaborative efforts and the need to boost the forecasting abilities of the centre. The inaugural event ended with the vote of thanks offered by Dr. KK Sarma, Scientist-SG, NESAC. The event was anchored by Smt. Kasturi Chakraborty, Scientist-SF and Shri Victor Saikhom, Scientist-SF, NESAC.
After the inaugural program, there were two technical sessions conducted to showcase the capability of space technology tools and services for developmental and monitoring activities of NE region on Day-1. The first technical session on “Space Technology Applications and Capabilities of ISRO/DOS” was chaired by Dr. Prakash Chauhan, Director, NRSC. The presentations were made from ISRO Hq., SAC, NRSC and NESAC. The second technical session on “Developmental Services of NESAC” was chaired by Dr. P P Nagaswara Rao, Former, Director, NESAC. All the thematic areas were covered under this session and presentations were made by the NESAC Scientists. Shri K. Moses Chalai, IAS, Secretary, NEC also graced the session in-person during the end of Day-1 program. Shri K. Moses Chalai appreciated the efforts of NESAC for organizing such an important event for popularizing the use of space technology for the benefits of the region. He emphasized on the use of a web portal, “Advancing North East” (www.advancingnortheast.in) touted as a “one stop solution” for career and livelihood for the youth of the region which was recently launched by the Hon’ble President of India. He informed that the portal aims to facilitate informed career decision by the students, job seekers and entrepreneurs and to increase employability and develop entrepreneurship in the region by educating the youth with emerging opportunities. The Day-1 program ended with an interaction session and was chaired by Shri PLN Raju, Former Director, NESAC. Senior representatives from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Meghalaya were present to take up state specific issues. The objective of the interactive session was to understand their needs on possible areas of space technology interventions, and get their feedback on the products and services being provided by NESAC. Dr Rekha B Gogoi, Scientist-SE, NESAC anchored the technical and user interaction session. The evening was also enlivened by a lilting cultural program and dinner in which students visiting NESAC under the YUVIKA program of ISRO also participated.
The Day-2 event on 24 May, 2022 started with the technical session on “Data Repository and Disaster Management Services” and the session was chaired by Dr. S Sudhakar, Former Director, NESAC. The topics covered under this session were the various disaster risk reduction services of NER-DRR node of NESAC. A presentation cum live demonstration on NeSDR was also made during this session. The next technical session on “ISRO/DOS Geoportals and Services” was chaired by Dr. PG Diwakar, Former Director, NESAC. The session covered the presentations on VEDAS and MOSDAC Geoportals, Bhuvan Geoportal & Services and few Governance Dashboards and Mobile applications developed by NESAC for NE region. Afterwards, the user interaction session for Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura states was held under the chairmanship of Shri KC Bhattacharyya, Former Director, NESAC. It was followed by a brainstorming session on “Space Technology for Governance, Academic & Research Interface and Plan for Collaboration”. The session was chaired by Dr. PS Roy, Former Director, NESAC. Prof. Gauri Dutt Sharma, Vice Chancellor, University of Science and Technology (USTM), Meghalaya, Prof. RK Sharma, Adviser, USTM, Smt Namrata Tiwari, GM, BSNL, Shillong, and other senior officials representing NEGRIMS, ICAR, BSNL, NEHU, ICMR, NIC, NECTAR, CWC, NEIST, NERIWALM, Assam Agriculture University, Tezpur University, NIT Meghalaya, Brahmaputra Board and the Technology Industry attended the event. The concluding session on “Reminiscence and Way Forward” chaired by Dr. JS Parihar, Former Director, NESAC where, the Former Directors of NESAC shared their past experiences and provided valuable suggestions for overall growth of the Centre. Some of the important topics raised dealt with the need to proactively lead users to find solutions using space technology, planning for the next decade, using the bulk of available satellite data from national and international satellites, dealing with critical threats like that of erosion, forest cover depletion, the need to perform and plan for risk assessment of the region in future with mitigation measures owing to the likely increase in the frequency of natural disasters in future and community based natural resource management with sustainable development goals at its core among others. The Day-2 program was coordinated and anchored by Dr. Rocky Pebam, Scientist-SE, NESAC.
Total 399 participants (50 in-person and 349 via online) from various organizations, academia, industry etc. joined in hybrid mode in both the days. Finally, the User Meet concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by Dr. Dibyajyoti Chutia, Scientist-SF and Organizing Secretary of NeUIM-2022, NESAC.