Our Bureau IIT Kharagpur will have a ship design and testing facility which will enable India to test vessels within the country. At present, Indian shipyards go to Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and Belgium to test ships.

The full facility will be ready in three years and the investment can be recovered in the subsequent two years, Partha P Chakrabarti, Director, IIT-Kharagpur, said at a conference here on Wednesday.

The facility, set up in collaboration with the Shipping Ministry at a cost of ₹70 crore, will also design ships for shallow waters that can be powered by LNG and electricity. IIT-Kharagpur will be providing the space next to its present centre. After five years, the project will be self-sustaining, Chakrabarti said.

“The facility can be used not just by Indian shipyards, but also by shipyards outside India as well,” Mansukhlal Mandaviya, Minister of Shipping (Independent Charge), said.

The cost will be saved and recouped in several areas, explained Chakrabarti. For instance, the amount of money India spends in testing ships abroad — paid in dollars — is saved.

Revenue will be generated by providing the testing services, said Chakrabarti, adding that they expect IIT Kharagpur to develop an ecosystem for entrepreneurs.

Globally, European companies have also approached IIT-Kharagpur for collaboration. “We are speaking to German companies as they have the river Rhine which has similar characteristics like the Ganga in terms of depth,” he said, adding this can also be used to design autonomous ships.