It will provide product support to Navy and Coast Guard
A product support centre of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL)— the third to be set up by the navartna defence PSU after Mumbai and Visakhapatnam to cater exclusively to the requirements of the Navy — was inaugurated by Defence Minister A.K. Antony at the Kinfra Hi-Tech Park here on Tuesday.
“It is a strategic institution, which will extend product support to a range of equipment and systems of the Navy and the Coast Guard. The unit will also benefit the Cochin Shipyard and the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) at Thrikkakara. (BEL uses designs from NPOL to develop sonars and other underwater products for the Navy.) Further, various units of the State-run Keltron, which is seen by the BEL as a family member, will receive support from it,” Mr. Antony said in his inaugural address.
Mr. Antony said that the setting up of the centre happened at a time when the Navy and the Coast Guard had intensified patrolling along the Kerala and the Lakshadweep coasts in view of increasing incidents of piracy in the region.
“Our shores are not safe unlike in the past,” he said, hoping that the support centre would strengthen the aerial and surface platforms of the maritime forces engaged in anti-piracy action by providing timely service and maintenance.
State Industries Minister Elamaram Karim, who presided over the function, said that the State had received five major defence projects since 2006. “Of these, the unit of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at Kasaragod will also be inaugurated in about three weeks time,” he said. Citing various joint ventures that the State had planned with central PSUs, Mr. Karim said that the construction of a container freight station at Kannur, done in collaboration with the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC), would begin soon. “The container freight station at Aluva, jointly done by FACT and CWC, will also gain momentum,” he said.
State Transport Minister Jose Thettayil; Union Minister of State for Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas; BEL Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Kumar Datt; Kinfra Managing Director S. Ramnath; State Additional Chief Secretary (Industries and Commerce) T. Balakrishnan; Defence Production Secretary R.K. Singh; Kalamassery Municipal chairman Jamal Manakkadan; Councillors Baburaj and Mymunath Ashraf; District Collector M. Beena; District Panchayat president Eldhose Kunnappally; BEL Bangalore Complex Director H.S. Bhadoria; and M.A. Yousuf, MLA, spoke.
The support centre will provide waterfront support to the city-headquartered Southern Naval Command and facilitate outsourcing of naval system projects to Keltron units. It will also co-ordinate equipment supply to the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) under construction at Cochin Shipyard. The product support centre at Kalamassery is spread over 6.2 acres of land acquired on a 90-year lease from Kinfra.