Sonowal dedicates Bengal-based shipyard to nation

Howrah (WB) Aug 16 (PTI) Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday dedicated to the nation a revamped shipbuilding facility of Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Ltd in West Bengal’s Howrah district.

The facility at Nazirgunge was recreated by turning around a 200-year-old shipyard on the western bank of the Hooghly river.

Addressing a programme, the shipping minister said, “Such a state-of-the-art shipyard will provide a boost to meet the requirements of new generation, high technology, greener vessels to propel growth in inland water transport along the National Waterways.”

The facility was developed by Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), at Rs 175 crore.

CSL Chairman and Managing Director Madhu S Nair said, “It is a matter of great pride to turn around the defunct dry dock at a cost of Rs 175 crore and all the equipment are made in India.”

Nair also stated that the shipyard, which has recently delivered the country’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier (IAC-1) to the Indian Navy, wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dedicate the warship to the nation.

Defence sources had earlier told PTI that the official induction and commissioning of the IAC is likely to take place this month.

“We want the prime minister to dedicate the first indigenously-built aircraft carrier to the nation,” Nair said.

Speaking on the shipyard in Howrah, Sonowal said it will give an impetus to water transport to the northeastern states and to Varanasi in the upstream, and this will enable economic development in the region.

Nair acknowledged the “proactive role of the West Bengal government” to turn around the dry dock, but no state government officials were seen at the programme.

The state-owned CSL had taken over Hooghly Dock and Port Engineers Ltd for the modernisation and renovation of its two dry docks on the western bank of the Hooghly river in Nazirgunj and Salkia, both in Howrah district.

The new facility will focus on building inland river cruise and coastal vessels, deep sea fishing ships, dredgers and others.

Under the Sagarmala project, 210 initiatives have been completed at a cost of Rs 1.12 lakh crore so far, the shipping minister said.

All the 1,507 projects under the programme will be completed by 2037, he added.