CHENNAI: Minister of State for Science and Technology and Ocean Development Kapil Sibal called on Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence to seek a “large area in the seafront in Tamil Nadu to carry out research activities such as deep sea mining” and “coastal management.”
“We want to carry on more activities in Tamil Nadu. So I requested the Chief Minister to look into a proposal by the Ministry to give a large area in the seafront in Tamil Nadu for carrying on research activities such as deep sea mining and others. As you know the Cabinet has in principle accorded approval to the setting up of a maritime university in Tamil Nadu and we hope that the setting up of the university and the grant of a seafront to us to carry out research and development would go hand in hand. This will enable us to invest more money in research activities in Tamil Nadu along the coast,” he said.
Asked about the reaction of Mr. Karunanidhi, he said the Chief Minister told him that he would consider the issue very seriously.
When it was brought to his notice that a parliamentary committee was looking into the issue of setting up of maritime university, he said that it was only concerned about the methodology and “how it is to be done.” Asked about the location of the university, he said: “We are setting up a maritime university. It will be located somewhere near the coast of some particular State.” Asked if there would be two maritime universities, he said he did not know about that. “It is not under my domain. I only know that in principle it has been agreed to. The location is yet to be decided and wherever it is, it has to be near the coast. And wherever it is, now with Information Technology you can do a lot of activities.”
D. Rajasekhar, head of the Vessel Management Cell at the National Institute of Ocean Technology, said the area the Minister sought was for his institute, which is located in Pallikaranai. “We have to use Chennai Port for our berthing facilities…Having our own area would be helpful in terms of convenience, better research, and financial terms, although there will be an initial capital investment,” said Mr. Rajasekhar. He estimated that 30 per cent of the budget allocation for the operation of NIOT’s ships was currently spent on paying Chennai Port for using its facilities.
Located on ECR
Mr. Rajasekhar said the land, identified about six months ago, was located on East Coast Road, south of Crocodile Park.
It runs along the coast for approximately two km and apart from providing berthing area for NIOT’s ships, it would provide space to test its seabed crawlers, unmanned exploratory vessels and other experimental technologies.