NIOT Developing Deep-Sea Mining System: Venkaiah Naidu
Chennai: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Sunday that the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) is developing a deep-sea mining system to meet the nation’s growing mineral needs.
Speaking at NIOT’s silver jubilee celebrations here, Naidu said that he has been informed that NIOT is working towards developing a deep-sea mining system and other technologies for harnessing resources from the ocean to meet India’s growing mineral needs and increase self-sufficiency in the near future.
“The development of technologies for the sustainable harvesting of living and non-living resources of the ocean is in line with the Blue Economy policy of the government of India and will empower the nation to be a leader in oceans, just like in space technology,” he said.
Naidu said that NIOT is working on almost all aspects of the six priority pillars of Blue Economy — fisheries and aquaculture; renewable ocean energy; seaports and shipping; offshore hydrocarbons and seabed minerals; marine biotechnology, research; and development and tourism.
According to Naidu, Blue Economy also includes intangible economic benefits which may not be marketed, such as carbon sequestration, coastal protection, cultural values, and biodiversity.
“While playing a sheet anchor role in the sustainable management of ocean resources, NIOT must forge partnerships and collaborations across sectors and borders,” Naidu added.
The Vice President said that NIOT’s research includes detailed engineering for the creation of sustainable coastal and offshore infrastructure, ocean data collection capability, marine biogeochemistry, marine pollution, oceanography, marine ecology, marine drugs, and mariculture technologies.
Citing Niti Aayog which said oceans will become the new centres of economic activity in this era of advanced technology, Naidu said that emerging industries, such as aquaculture, marine biotechnology, ocean energy, and sea-bed mining, have the potential to create jobs and spur worldwide economic growth.
He said Indian epics have spoken about ‘Samudra Manthan’ thousands of years ago, stressing on the importance of oceans.
Naidu said India’s connection with ocean-related activities like naval warfare and trade dates back to ancient times.
“The oldest port of Lothal and the first century Chola port of Poompuhar are examples of our connection with marine infrastructure development.
“A Roman report describes how trade vessels were escorted by the king’s fleet from the Poompuhar port to the estuary as it was a natural harbour in the mouth of the river Kaveri,” Naidu said.
Mamallapuram, which recently hosted the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, was a significant port city during the Pallava period in the 7th century. It was also a thriving port until the end of the ninth century with the town being part of China’s ‘Silk Route’ and India’s ‘Spice Route’, the Vice President said.
According to Naidu, the silk industry of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu owes its genesis to the import of raw silk from China through Mamallapuram.
Starting from Ashoka, all Indian rulers, especially Rajendra Chola, have shown their prowess over the seas and therefore we have traditionally acquired knowledge of creating marine infrastructure like landing jetties, mid-sea transfers of material from huge crafts to small boats and transport of materials through estuaries, Naidu said.