Dharmendra Pradhan seeks Centre of Excellence on Marine Biotechnology in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Feb 17 (PTI) Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan has sought the personal intervention of Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan in setting up of a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on Marine Biotechnology at Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), here to preserve Odisha’s delicate marine ecosystem.

In a letter to the Union science and technology minister on Tuesday, Pradhan said, the state’s coastline provides employment to millions and has been at the centre of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for a marine-led Blue Economy.

Blue Economy covers all ocean-related activities, including direct and indirect supporting activities required for functioning of the sector, while adjusting the costs of environmental damage and ecological imbalance caused due to exploitation of ocean resources for consumption.

Noting that Odishas long and beautiful coastline has been one of the hallmarks of the state for centuries, Pradhan said, it provides sustenance and employment to millions who are engaged in pisciculture and fishing, travel tourism, and trade and logistics.

World-famous sites like Puri Jagannath Temple, Konark Sun temple, Chilika Lake and Bhitarkanika National Park form the backbone of Odishas tourism and allied industry, Pradhan, who hails from the state, said.

“Projects like the expansion and development of Paradip Port, IOCL Paradip refinery, Paradip Smart Port city, development of Dhamra LNG Terminal, DighaGopalpur coastal highway and development of fishing harbours at Paradip and Balasore will unlock the true potential for marine-led economic growth in Odisha and eastern India,” the letter said.

Mentioning that PM Modi has reiterated that such industrial economic growth must be balanced with ecological conservation, the Union minister said, “It is essential to invest in the preservation of delicate marine ecosystems such as nesting sites of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles and mangrove ecosystems while developing novel approaches using marine biotechnology”.

ILS, Bhubaneswar, has been undertaking scientific research in this area with a proven body of publications and patents which have led to favourable outcomes for the management of local bio-resources, eco-conservation efforts and optimal marine resource utilisation, Pradhan said.

“Therefore, I seek your personal intervention in facilitating a CoE on Marine Biotechnology at ILS, Bhubaneswar,” he said.