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  • Union Minister Shri. Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurates IIT Madras state-of-the-art Research Facility at its Discovery Campus
Union Minister Shri. Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurates IIT Madras state-of-the-art Research Facility at its Discovery Campus

Union Minister Shri. Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurates IIT Madras state-of-the-art Research Facility at its Discovery Campus

  • 24th Apr 2023
  • Press Release

Shri. Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon'ble Union Minister, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and AYUSH, Government of India, inaugurated the NTCPWC-Discovery Campus of Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) today (24th April 2023) in the presence of Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, faculty and other officials.

The National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC) is the technology arm of the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, with a mandate to bring cutting-edge technology to the Port and Waterways sectors. Its key objectives including boosting 'Make in India' for Port, Coastal and Inland water transport and engineering by developing state-of-the-art technologies and application products besides fast-track innovations to tackle challenges.

'Discovery Campus' is the 163-acre campus of IIT Madras, located at Thaiyur, about 36 km from the main campus at Guindy. It hosts state-of-the-art standalone Research Centres with large dedicated facilities and will have its own support infrastructure such as hostels for the research scholars and fellows, common instrumentation laboratories, and conference facilities, among other amenities.

The NTCPWC Researchers demonstrated the shallow wave basin equipment as well as provided an overview of the special projects underway at this Research Facility to Shri. Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon'ble Union Minister.

Addressing the inaugural function, Shri. Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon'ble Union Minister, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and AYUSH, Government of India, said, "This Centre acts as a unique vibrant centre for students, industry and academicians in the area of Sediment transportation, Navigation, Dredging and siltation, port and coastal engineering, autonomous platforms and vehicles, among other areas."

Further Shri. Sarbananda Sonowal said, "Till date, more than 100 projects / products worth Rs. 200 crore have been developed and operationalized at major ports, waterways, atomic energy, state maritime boards, ALHW, Navy and many other PSUs and State agencies, among others. These products have provided tangible benefits and cost savings to the extent of more than Rs. 1,500 crore. This is a step in the right direction of the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' of the Hon'ble Prime Minister"

Shri. Sarbananda Sonowal added, "The NTCPWC-IIT Madras, Discovery Campus spread over four acres, has about five state-of-the-art labs. Notable among these is the 'Sedimentation Management and Test Basin,' which is a large shallow water facility for ports and waterways and marine information and communication laboratory where iVTMS and e-navigation products are developed."

The Mission of NTCPWC include

- To create a pool of competent manpower equipped with state-of-the-art theoretical and practical knowhow.

- Self-sufficiency in providing:

- Short term solutions through scientific studies

- Technology development

- Technical arm in identifying complex problems and solving issues

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, "We are committed to the service of the nation. The estimated savings from NTCPWC in the last five years is around Rs. 1,500 Crore of Foreign Exchange by indigenous technology. This is among the only such facility in India where we are looking at real-world deployment of all the naval-related Research and translational development projects where we move away from simulation and come closer to real-world so that we can actually implement these projects. This is also comparable with best facilities in the world including Europe. We are establishing ourselves as leaders and role models."

Prof. Kamakoti added, "This whole set-up has been done indigenously in India at IIT Madras, which is a vision of the Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had mentioned in 'Amrit Kaal' as we march towards the next 25 years when we reach the 100th year of Independence, India needs to be a completely self-sustaining country - the 'Atmanirbhar India.' This is certainly a very important step as we move towards in the maritime sector."

The Port Centre at Discovery Campus was setup in February 2018. It also provides solutions to an extensive range of problems being faced in the industry through scientific support and carry out education, applied research and technology transfer.

Highlighting the unique facilities at this Research Centre, Prof. K. Murali, Dean (Faculty), IIT Madras, and Head, NTCPWC-IIT Madras, said, "The NTCPWC, IIT Madras, has commissioned a large 360 degrees projection based Full Mission Ship Handling Simulator for conducting complex navigation feasibility studies for port development projects and including Inland Waterways. The state-of-the-art simulator will also be used for conducting R&D projects at IIT Madras."

Prof. K. Murali added, "The Simulator installation is amongst the largest Simulator of its kind in the region, using the latest Marine Simulator technology available anywhere in the world. More than 25 navigational studies and training programs carried out for all Major Ports of India and abroad."

Dr Malini V Shankar, I.A.S, VC IMU spoke about opportunities for synergy between IMU and IITM. Shri Sunil Paliwal, I.A.S, Chairman ChPA spoke about importance of industry academia interaction in the marine sector and how it could bring about effective solutions. Dr Venkata Ramana Akkaraju, Chairman NMPA spoke about important of cost effective solutions coming out of innovations.

The NTCPWC is also equipped with the modern field research lab facility to carry out various field based measurements in coastal, marine and waterways.

Another unique facility is the 'Sedimentation and Erosion Management Test Basin' (SEMaTeB), designed and developed to cater to the major challenges faced by Ports, Waterways and Coastal areas in India. Only few countries in the world have this facility to carry out physical model studies. Major parts of expenditure of these sectors in India are on dredging and management of siltation and erosion. The facility is available to address the challenges being faced by the industry to test the physical models.

The Major achievements from the inception of NTCPWC include:

- Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) indigenously developed by National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC), IIT Madras that can undertake autonomous surveys providing real-time data transmission with long distance video monitoring. Operationalization of online monitoring of dredging in Major Ports.

- Dredging planning, monitoring, progress, productivity and cost benefit analysis.

- Tidal and Meteorological Monitoring, Telemetry and Display System (TMMTDS)

- Initiative to ensure that the environmental and operational data, crucial to the port operations and compliance, is

- Cost effective alternative for Ports in terms of commissioning, decommissioning, Green energy, simple and effective deployment for carrying our regular hydrographic surveys,


Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Discovery Campus on 14th February 2021.

Research activities at IIT Madras have grown exponentially during the last decade. These activities got a boost after the Institute was declared an 'Institution of Eminence' in 2019. Fuelled by the research successes in several fields, large research centres are being funded by various ministries and agencies of the Government of India as well as industry sponsors. Many of these centres require dedicated facilities to be created, which in turn require space.

Given the rapidly expanding research footprint of IIT Madras, and the need to create world-class research facilities quickly over the next decade, the campus at Thaiyur has been planned primarily as a research campus.

After the pioneering IIT Madras Research Park, the Discovery Campus is the next iconic facility to be created by IIT Madras.