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Cabinet clears ₹1,600-crore mission to map coasts

O-SMART to include warning systems, desalination plants

August 29, 2018 10:23 pm | Updated 10:37 pm IST - New Delhi

CHENNAI, 11/08/2009: Fishermen venturing into the sea at Foreshore Estate Beach in Chennai on August 11, 2009, after a powerful earthquake of 7.8 magnitude off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at 1.26am, had triggered off a tsunami warning along the East coast of India. But no rise in waterlevel prompted authorities to take back the alert and normalcy returned. Bringing back memories of the 2004 disaster residents, especially fisherfolk living alongside the beachfront were in a sense of panic and were asked to evacuate. _Photo: R. Ravindran

CHENNAI, 11/08/2009: Fishermen venturing into the sea at Foreshore Estate Beach in Chennai on August 11, 2009, after a powerful earthquake of 7.8 magnitude off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at 1.26am, had triggered off a tsunami warning along the East coast of India. But no rise in waterlevel prompted authorities to take back the alert and normalcy returned. Bringing back memories of the 2004 disaster residents, especially fisherfolk living alongside the beachfront were in a sense of panic and were asked to evacuate. _Photo: R. Ravindran

India is set to get more disaster warning systems along its coasts. While it already has a tsunami warning system in place, the new systems will keep an eye out for “tsunamis and storm surges,” according to an official release.

The system is part of a programme called O-SMART (Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science) that is being piloted by the Union earth sciences ministry. It was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday, at an outlay of ₹1,623 crore.

O-SMART will provide economic benefits to a number of user communities in the coastal and ocean sectors, namely, fisheries, offshore industry, coastal States, defence, shipping, ports, etc.

Other key missions under O-SMART include, according to the press release, strengthening of Ocean Observations and Modelling, strengthening of Ocean Services for fishermen, setting up marine observatories for monitoring marine pollution, setting up Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant (OTEC) in Kavaratti, acquiring two coastal research vessels, continuation of ocean survey and exploration of minerals and living resources, technology development for Deep Ocean Mining and manned submersibles and the setting up six desalination plants in Lakshadweep.

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