It is likely to come up within a year, says Atmananda

The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, Chennai, has proposed to set up an ocean technology centre at the National Institute of Technology – Karnataka (NIT-K) at Surathkal near here, according to NIOT Director Atmananda.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating a two-day workshop on “Conservation of water resources of the west-flowing rivers in coastal Karnataka” at NIT-K on Friday, he said that the documentation process was on. The proposal would be placed before the Ministry soon for approval. The centre was likely to come up within a year.

He said NIOT would be the facilitating institute of the centre. Being a technical institute, NIOT had various projects in ocean technology with scope for research. As NIT-K involved in research activities with expertise in it, NIOT would like to involve it for research required for the projects. Once the centre came up, it could collect data required for coastal protection through observation. The data would be analysed and steps required to be taken for the protection would be placed before policy-makers for action.

Mr. Atmananda said that in coastal areas, excess use of groundwater could lead to salinity. Hence, management and engineering techniques were needed for sustainable exploration of groundwater.

He said Karnataka had 10 west-flowing rivers, providing 60 per cent of the State’s inland water resources.

Mr. Atmananda said that inter-linking of rivers should be done after a detailed study. There was no point in opposing inter-linking of rivers without a proper basis and scientific study of impact of inter-linking of rivers. Environmentalists had raised concern about threat to aqua life, deforestation and submergence of land. “…So it is necessary to strike a via media. This is very important. I am not suggesting that forests are to be destroyed. Via media is important…”

Chief Executive Officer of the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat K.N. Vijay Prakash said the panchayat would desilt 122 tanks in the district.

He said there was over exploitation of groundwater in 44 habitations in Dakshina Kannada which now faced scarcity of water in summer. The groundwater table in the district had depleted from 90 mts a few years ago to 120 mts now.

Swapan Bhattacharya, Director, NIT-K, spoke.