To keep pace with the increase in number of cadets at academy

The second phase development of the Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala here is under way to keep pace with the increase in the number of cadets undergoing training.

With the number of cadets at the academy rising to nearly 1,000, the facilities developed in the first phase to cater to 600 cadets are proving inadequate. “We have infrastructure bottlenecks,” INA Commandant Vice-Admiral Pradeep Chauhan told presspersons during an interaction at the academy here on Saturday. The second phase work was expected to be completed in four years and would enhance the facilities to accommodate 1,200 cadets.

On the delay in executing the works contracted by pan-Indian construction companies, Vice-Admiral Chauhan said heavy rainfall, availability of labour and material, and procedural delays in awarding the works were the major reasons. The second phase works were crucial for the INA, he said, adding that the academy was developing more sea-based training infrastructure. “Phase-II will impact the comfort level of training,” he said.

Vice-Admiral Chauhan said the academy faced a shortage of trainers, especially civilian professors. There was also demand for more personnel, including officers, sailors, and civilians. At present, the INA had five squadrons, each catering to nearly 250 cadets and looked after by four or five officers. Each officer was entrusted with the task of mentoring all cadets, he said.

Vice-Admiral Chauhan said the naval hospital named INS Navjeevan constructed at the INA would be opened on December 12. The 60-bed hospital with state-of-the-art facility would be primarily aimed at the cadets.

He said though the INA did not have cadets from other friendly countries, the academy conducted short-burst courses. Recently, naval cadets from Germany led by a trainer visited the academy as part of an exchange programme.

On the bomb hoax at Government Higher Secondary School at nearby Ramanthali, the INA Commandant said the academy had taken precautions and enhanced coastal security.

He said the Navy Day celebrations on December 4 would be a low-key affair in view of the seven-day mourning declared following the death of former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral.

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