Defence spin-off benefits must reach general population:Antony

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Kochi, Nov 24 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today stressed the need for ''spin-off benefits'' of defence technology being optimised for the civilian population.

Handing over the 'Sanjeevani life detecting device' to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Ernakulam District Administration at a function here, Mr Antony said the well being of a nation lay not only in defending its external borders but also in assuring the safety of the ordinary citizen.

In this context, he lauded the development of 'Sanjeevani' by the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) in collaboration with Keltron, using acoustic technology developed for submarines.

With the use of 'Sanjeevani', a portable hand held device, low level acoustic or sound signals could be detected to rescue people buried under debris during disasters such as earthquakes.

The device, which could be used in water, air or mud, had helped to safe some lives during the Gujarat earthquake in 2001.

At the same function, light weight calipers made of a composite material used in missiles were also shown to the defence minister.

Speaking of the DRDO's efforts to share the benefits of defence technology with the common people, DRDO's Chief Controller (R&D) A Sivathanu Pillai said the organisation had developed several such devices including dental implants, laser treatment for eye care and cardiac stents.

Speaking of the light weight calipers for polio-affected children, Dr Pillai said these weighed only 300 gm as compared to the three kg weight of the conventional calipers and cost Rs 800 as compared to the Rs 1,500 for the conventional ones.

Already 25,000 children in different parts of the country had been fitted with these calipers and the ''immediate target'' was to fit these in 100,000 physically disabled people, he said.

Prof. NVC Menon, Member, NDMA, said the 'Sanjeevani life detecting device' could be usefully deployed by the NDMA's first response team, fire service personnel, civil defence and home guards.

Noting that 229 of the country's 612 districts fell in Zone IV and V of the earthquke prone areas, Prof. Menon suggested that ten per cent of the national calamity fund should be spent for purchasing life saving equipment.

Mr M Natarajan, Scientific Advisor to the defence minister, said almost 80 per cent of the DRDO's technologies were dual use and could be used by the industry for several applications. These included technologies developed by many life science laboratories which could be used by the food processing industry.

Also present on the occasion were NPOL Director S Anantha Narayanan, Dr Sebastian Paul, MP, Mr K Babu, MLA, Ernakulam District Collector Dr M Beena and Thrikkakara Panchayat President Sabitha Kareem.

UNI ARC KKS1525

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