With the current naval base leaving no scope for further expansion, the Indian Navy has decided to develop a new naval base for the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) at an investment of about Rs 1,500 crore. The new naval base will come up at Rambili area, near the existing naval base.
Addressing mediapersons, vice-admiral OP Bansal, flag officer and commanding-in-chief, ENC, said, “The current naval base at Visakhapatnam has become congested and there is no space for further expansion. Hence, we are going to set up an alternative naval base at Rambilli. The Indian Navy is spending close to Rs 1,500 crore for the first phase of works.”
The Indian Navy requires about 3,000 acres of land to set up the alternative base. The land acquisition has been completed and the first phase of the project will be ready in three to four years, he added.
Bansal said that ENC is adding five more new warships to its fleet during the next fiscal. ENC currently has 15 warships in its fleet, and a couple of them will be decommissioned next year. “We will be adding two missile boats, two landing ship tanks and a fast attack craft to the eastern fleet,” he said.
The Navy is also constructing six submarines at Mezagon Dock with technical support from the French government. “These will be built at an investment of about $3 billion and the first submarine will join the eastern fleet by 2009,” Bansal said. ENC, at present, has six submarines.
Bansal said that the Vizag airport expansion would be completed during next year. “Of the total project cost of Rs 191 crore, Indian Navy is contributing around Rs 175 crore. Once the project is completed, Vizag would see a significant growth,” he said.
Due to poor response from private partners, the proposed Rs 5-crore warship museum project at Visakhapatnam beach has been called off for the time being, Bansal said.
“The Indian Navy and the Russian Navy will jointly conduct a three-day naval exercise at the Bay of Bengal in a big way this month. In February 2006, the Navy will be organising a Presidential Parade, for which President APJ Abdul Kalam will be in Vizag,” he informed.