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‘Think mega' of a second ship yard, says Shipping Secretary - 2011-09-28

The Union Shipping Secretary, Mr K. Mohandas, has said that any proposal for a second shipyard for Kerala should be pursued on a scale and size that befits the true intent of investment and potential thrown up by the location of choice.
He was referring to the credentials of Vizhinjam, whose natural attributes were as compellingly appealing for a deep-sea international port and transhipment container terminal as they are for a „mega size' ship building yard.
Mr Mohandas's comments came during his keynote address to a function organised here by the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) on Friday to dedicate its offsite bollard pull test facility for ships/vessels at Vizhinjam that boasts the country's highest installed capacity of 500 tonnes.
This provided the first instance of the CSL expanding its operations outside of the home base of Kochi, the Chairman and Managing Director Commodore K. Subramaniam said at the function.
The bollard pull test facility could also be considered the precursor to new investments that the CSL had in mind for Vizhinjam, Cmde Subramaniam had said.
This was the larger context in which the Union Shipping Secretary made his comments, loaded as it were with the Centre's intent to support any initiative for a prospective shipyard at the site where the State Government is promoting a deep-sea port and international container transhipment terminal.
Mr Mohandas recalled how CSL has been to build up a strong order book for itself as a ship builder and ship repairer, catering to the needs of domestic and international maritime industry, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. CSL is also building the country's first indigenously designed aircraft carrier, which, according to him, has entered „the mid-phase.'
While lauding the emergence of the CSL as a key player in the maritime sector domestically and internationally, Mr Mohandas sought to present a case for more ship building yards along the country's coasts.
The potential is unlimited, he said, with India having been able to account for just one per cent of the new ship buildings order during the last year while neighbouring China had cornered as much as 35 per cent.
India has the required technical and design expertise, human capital and was now able to produce the special steel required for ship building.
The Central Government was appreciative of these distinct advantages but had also realised the need for private capital in this sector, the Shipping secretary said.
The only grey area remained the crucial issue of acquisition of land in the heavily populated coastal area around Vizhinjam.
This is something that could be handled only with the help of the State Government, Mr Mohandas added.
Source: Hindu Business Line