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Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India: Major achievements, policies and schemes during 2006

— REORGANIZATION OF THE MINISTRY OF OCEAN DEVELOPMENT AS MINISTRY OF EARTH SCIENCES AND FORMATION OF EARTH COMMISSION

The Government of India approved the reorganization of the Ministry of Ocean Development as Ministry of Earth Sciences and formation of Earth Commission on the lines of Space Commission.

The Earth System organization (ESO) as an executive mechanism under the Ministry of Earth Sciences would have two major entities, namely: (i) Ocean Science and Technology Department and (ii) India Meteorological Department.

The Ocean Science and Technology Department would consist of the existing Centres and Attached Offices of the Ministry of Ocean Development. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) would consist of the existing IMD, a strengthened Seismological Institute and the corresponding components (like Earthquake Risk Evaluation Centre and programme personnel) from the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and National Centre for medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) would report to ESO. The formation of Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Earth Commission will enable a framework for understanding the complex interactions among the key elements of the Earth system.

— ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL EARLY WARNING SYSTEM FOR TSUNAMI & STORM SURGES IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

After the December 26, 2004 Tsunami, resulting in colossal loss of life and property, it was decided to set up an early warning system to mitigate such potential losses. Accordingly, the project on “Establishment of National Early Warning System for Tsunami & Storm Surges in the Indian Ocean” was approved by the Government of India in October, with the Ministry of Earth Sciences as the nodal ministry. The National Early Warning System is targeted to be made operational by September 2007 after necessary testing and simulations.

— INTERIM TSUNAMI WARNING CENTRE

An Interim Tsunami Warning Centre, following the Standard Operational Procedure, is made operational at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) on 24X7 basis. This centre receives earthquake information.

— SEISMIC NETWORK

As a part of strengthening seismic network for near real time monitoring of the potential Tsunamigenic earthquakes, 17 interconnected broadband seismic stations will be set up with real time communication of data to the Central Receiving Station (CRS) of India Meteorological Department (IMD) at New Delhi and to the Parallel CRS at INCOIS, Hyderabad.

— MONITORING SEA LEVEL

Propagation of Tsunami waves in the ocean and consequent sea level changes will be monitored by installing Bottom Pressure Recorders (BPRs). India is installing 12 such BPRs in both the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea at appropriate locations. One BPR deployed in the deep ocean near Andaman Nicobar Island is sending data.

17 out of 50 Tide Gauges were installed along the Indian coastline including the Andaman & Nicobar Islands as part of this network by Survey of India and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT). The data is being received in real time by INCOIS.

— COASTAL VULNERABILITY MODELLING AND INUNDATION MAPPING

The information about magnitude, location and depth at which an earthquake has occurred is used to model travel time, inundation and run-up of tsunami in coastal regions. The possible risks of coastal inundation due to tsunami and storm surge by using tsunami and storm surge models constructed using numerical equations have been implemented.

High resolution topography of the coastal belt and bathymetry of shallow water has been initiated to refine the inundation scenarios by feeding the parameters in the existing model. India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean Region will be furthered with the establishment of Tsunami and Storm Surge Warning System in Indian Ocean.

— TECHNOLOGY FOR DEEP SEA MINING

NIOT, the technical arm of the Ministry of Earth Sciences has taken up this challenging area of developing technologies for harnessing ocean resources. Considering that the technology to mine nodules at depths greater than 5000m is highly challenging, this work has been taken up in phases

— COASTAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
Various projects were undertaken and completed by NIOT during the year leading to development of coastal belt viz. Post dredge survey at Pipavav, Gujarat, Marine EIA for Kulpi Port development in West Bengal, baseline surveys for the Final Phase (pre-monsoon season) for comprehensive EIA studies for Kandla Port, reconnaissance surveys and Oceanographic Investigations at Jaitapur, Maharashtra for Nuclear Power Plant site, Rapid EIA survey at Patrie and Sister Island for the Directorate of light house and light ships.

— OIL SPILL DETECTION AND MODELLING

The Ministry has developed oil spill trajectory model indicating the movement of oil spills from Western and Eastern EEZ to the coastal areas of the country coupled with area/habitat specific oil spill models for high risk areas viz. Gulf of Kutch and operationalisation capability during oil spill incidents. The oil spill trajectory model for tracking oil spills was installed at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, an autonomous institute under this Ministry, which mans it on 24×7 basis along with interim tsunami warning system.

— OCEAN OBSERVATION AND INFORMATION SERVICES

Potential Fishing Zone(PFZ) advisories were generated and disseminated by Fax/Telephone to 12 PFZ sectors of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka & Goa, Kerala, South Tamil Nadu, North Tamil Nadu, South Andhra Pradesh, North Andhra Pradesh, Orissa & West Bengal and Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands.

The construction of Buoy Tender cum Research Vessel Sagar Manjusha was completed at M/s. Hindustan Shipyard Ltd., Visakhapatnam, and the vessel was inducted into the services of National institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) to support National Databuoy Programme (NDBP) on 14th June 2006.

— MARINE RESEARCH AND CAPACITY BUILDING

With a view to promote research and capacity building in the country, about 40 research projects were supported through the 9 Ocean Science and Technology Cells created in coastal universities/IIT. In 2006, a Centre of Excellence in “Marine Microbiology” was established at Goa.

— ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES
Various events indicating atmospheric disturbances, cyclonic conditions, low pressure formations, earthquakes, tremors etc were well captured by India Meteorological Department and all the concerned states were alerted in time.

Issue of weather forecast to Agromet Advisory Service (AAS) Units: Daily forecasts with a temporal range of 4 days were issued for cloud cover, maximum and minimum temperatures, wind speed and direction and rainfall to 107 Agromet Advisory Units twice a week.

— INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
India played a global leadership role in all the key international forums pertaining to ocean affairs. India’s elected members on the bodies established under United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea viz. Council, Legal and Technical Commission, Finance Committee of International Seabed Authority (ISBA), and Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf (CLCS) participated in their respective sessions and contributed actively on all fronts.

For detailed list of major achievements, policies and schemes during 2006 of the Ministry of Earth Sciences visit: https://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=23750