1. THE YEAR IN REVIEW

1.1 Major activities and achievements of the Department of Ocean Development during the year 1991-92 include the following:

Successful commissioning of an experimental 150 kW wave power generating system at Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala in October 1991.

Completion of the l0th Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica and dispatch of 11 th Indian scientific expedition with the objective of carrying out sophisticated experiments in atmospheric sciences, biology, geosciences, geodetic control mapping, environmental physiology, and long distance H.F. Communication.

Refinement of seabed exploration and mapping of 75 percent of the pioneer area (mine site) in the central Indian Ocean allotted to India as a Pioneer Investor using state-of -the- art technology.

Preparation of basic process package and engineering design for piloting the extractive metallurgical routes for recovery of metals ( copper, nickel and cobalt) from nodules. Two pilot plants, each of about 250 kg nodules per day capacity at National Metallurgical Laboratory Jamshedpur and Regional Research Laboratory, Bhubaneswar are in the final stages of erection.

Design and development of a low volume deep seabed mining system. The designed test system includes: - A remotely controlled active collector with mechanical and hydraulic collecting head for gathering nodules.

- A bucket-in-pipe lifting system for vertical transportation of the nodules.

- A robotic manipulator to assemble/disassemble the flexible pipe, joining the collector to the lifting system.

- A remote control system of the collector unit, using a hydraulic circuit and electrical and fiber optics communication system.

- Creation of a shallow basin remote controlled test facility.

Systematic exploration of sea floor topography, coastal circulation and of various oceanographic parameters and biomass distribution in different parts of Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the central Indian Ocean, through carefully designed cruises of research vessels Sagar Kanya and Sagar Sampada.

Operationalisation of a National Marine Information Service (MARSIS) and dissemination of value added information in the form of potential fishing zone maps derived from satellite observed Sea Surface Temperatures (SST). Use of this information by fishermen on the Karnataka and Andhra coasts has given highly encouraging results in the form of high fish catches, whilst intensive validation campaigns are in progress.

Constitution of a National Co-ordination Committee (NCC) to facilitate usage of data and information generated under the coastal zone programmes (MARSIS), Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction Systems (COMAPS), Wave Energy, Marine Instrumentation, etc.) by downstream users like coastal States, major ports, Central Beach Erosion Board" etc.

Development of infrastructure and operational facilities at the nine Pollution Monitoring Centers of the National Network for Monitoring- and Modeling of the Coastal Ocean Environment (COMAPS): Training and periodical intercalibration exercise to ensure production of reliable quality data and analysis of pollution data with a view to developing a hydro-dynamic models for Thane Creek in Bombay, Zuari estuary in Goa and Hoogly estuary in West Bengal.

Organisation of a special research cruise of FORV Sagar Sampada for studying the possible impact of oil pollution in the north Arabian Sea due to oil slick in the Gulf. The vessel covered 4734 line km and 44 stations for hydrographic, primary production, zooplankton, benthic, meteorological and oil pollution studies.

Mapping on 1:50,000 scale, of coral reefs in the Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Mannar , Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep for clarifying and monitoring the coral ecosystems, as a part of the MARSIS programme .

Operationalisation of Andaman Nicobar Centre for Ocean Development for undertaking field investigation on pollution monitoring, measurement of sea level variations using modern tide gauges and implementation of extension programmes for prawn culture and technical education in fisheries technology.

Design and development of some marine instrumentation and systems, notably underwater ocean acoustic, remote sensing (tomography, fish echosounders; ocean data buoys and sensors).

Initiation of steps for production of 1000 low cost two-way communication sets to enable fishermen to communicate with coastal stations useful information such as the location of potential fishing zones and to make distress calls at the time of emergency.

Operationalisation of six out of 13 National Marine Data Centres (NMDCs) dealing with data on marine geology, geophysics, oceanography, sea level variations and fisheries

Implementation of a multi-institutional programme, with Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow as the lead laboratory, for identifying bioactive substances of potential therapeutic value from the coastal ocean. About 200 samples were screened for developing potential therapeutic agents.

Adoption of a Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty which prohibits mining in Antarctica for 50 years and for which India worked relentlessly.


1.2 Eighth Five Year Plan Programmes

Eighth Plan objectives of the Department were distilled out from a wide range of recommendations made and views expressed at a number of meetings especially organised to articulate the critical issues. During the 8th Plan period. It is proposed to concentrate on a limited number of key programmes aimed at operationalising state-of- the-art scientific knowledge to provide rational approach to the management of our marine resources and environment.

Major programmes of the Department formulated for a concerted thrust during the 8th Plan are:

Antarctic Research

Deep Seabed Polymetallic Nodules exploration, mining and metal extraction.

Exploration and Assessment of Living and Non Living Resources of the Exclusive Economic Zone

Coastal Zone and Islands

Marine Instrumentation and Systems

Research, Development and specialized manpower

Infrastructure support: Research Vessels and Ocean Information System

Policy and Law relating to Global Commons.

A set of other programmes implemented In the previous years relating to coastal areas have been now cohered in a synergistic network ~o form a multi-project programme on coastal zone and islands. Objectives and tasks of this programme have been specially designed to create knowledge products of direct use in the development process. A small number of instrumentation systems have been projected for indigenous design and development. A few specially generated research and development programmes which aim at developing specific areas of knowledge that are potentially fruitful for development and environmental protection, as well as technologies that are specially needed to enhance the quality of life and human endeavor in marine 'operations will be implemented. The focus of Department's support to R&D funding has thus been shifted from open ended loose projects .to cohered, purposive programs.

The Department's projected requirements for the 8th Plan are substantially higher than what was spent in the previous Plan. The main increase will be on account of (a) the urgent need to improve our research vessel facilities, and (b) a logical upscaling of the polymetallic nodules and Antarctic programmes to safeguard long-term national interests.


1.3 Financial Outlay

The financial outlay for the year 1991-92 was Rs. 37 crores (Plan) and Rs. 9.21 crores (Non Plan). The revised estimates for the year 91-92 are Rs. 32.27 crores: (Plan) and Rs. 9.10 crores (Non-Plan). A downward revision of Plan estimates was made to accommodate the 10% cut in Plan expenditure during the year. Details of various new and ongoing activities as well as significant achievements made during the year are given in the following chapters.