Howrah: Union Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has inaugurated a revamped shipbuilding facility of Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Ltd in West Bengal’s Howrah district. The 200-year-old shipyard on the western bank of Hooghly river near Nazirgunge has been revamped at the cost of ₹175 crore.
Speaking on the occasion at a simple function, the Minister said, “The a state-of-the-art shipyard will be cable to cater to the needs of new generation hi-tech and greener vessels to propel growth in inland water transport along the National Waterways.”
The facility, developed by Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Ltd, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL). CSL Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Madhu S Nair said it was a momentous occasion to see a rejuvenated shipbuilding facility over the defunct dry dock. Everything in the shipbuilding infrastructure has been done in pursuance of the made in India doctrine.
The country’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier (IAC-1) to the Indian Navy has been built at the shipyard, Nair said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might dedicate the warship to the nation anytime this month. “We want the prime minister to dedicate the first indigenously-built aircraft carrier to the nation,” Nair said.
Sonowal said the shipyard would help accelerate the water transport in the region of North-East and Central India. “The National waterways has been set functional from Patna to the North East. Now it will be taken to Varanasi in the upstream of Ganga, which would enable economic development in the region,” added the minister.
Although Nair acknowledged a proactive role of the West Bengal government in the redevelopment of the shipyard, but there was no representation from the state government at the event.
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. Recently, the Bihar state tourism development corporation owned ship, used to ferry tourism, has been sent to the shipyard for repair.
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,” added the Minister.
Earlier in New Delhi, the Shipping and Waterways Minister chaired a high-level meeting attended by Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw and Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertiliser Mansukh Mandaviya to deliberate and facilitate an ecosystem for container production under Make In India programme.
The Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) has been asked to develop a cluster base manufacturing units for containers under the Make in India motto. Various ways and means to encourage Indian producers of containers were also discussed. In the meeting, the ministers also discussed the possibility of movement of bulk cargos like cement, foodgrains, fertilisers etc through coastal and inland waterways in containerised form. This will contribute to reduction in the cost of logistics, handling charges as it will be through an economical, ecological & easier mode of transportation.