Staff Reporter

Foundation laid for naval hospital at Ezhimala Stone laid for naval hospital at Ezhimala

EZHIMALA (KANNUR): Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said that the Ezhimala Naval Academy will be completed by December 2008 and will be fully commissioned in early 2009.

Speaking at the academy project site here on Monday after laying the foundation stone for the 64-bed naval hospital INSH Navjivani, Mr. Antony said the Government would ensure that there would be no further delay in completing the project resulting in cost overrun.

Once the academy became fully functional, 750 cadets, including those from friendly countries, would be trained here, he said.

Recalling his visit to the project site with the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1987 when the latter had laid the foundations for the project, Mr. Antony said the academy would be developed into a prestigious, the biggest and one of the best naval academies in Asia as envisaged by the late Prime Minister.

The academy would play a vital role in producing professional and motivated officers required by the Navy to check maritime terrorism, drug trafficking and piracy, he said.

Kannur airport

When the naval project and the proposed Kannur airport became a reality, the entire district would witness rapid changes, he said. Mr. Antony said the proposed airport project would get Central clearance as soon as the State Government ensured availability of required land. The Defence Ministry, especially the Navy, had given clearance for the airport project in `cyclonic speed,' he said. It was Mr. Antony's maiden visit to the naval academy project site after he became Defence Minister.

The project is coming up on a 2,500-acre land given by the State Government, which is also providing physical infrastructure, including drinking water supply, electricity sub-station and roads.

Mr. Antony said the INHS Navjivani would cater to the health-care needs of cadets undergoing training in the academy, personnel posted here and also ex-servicemen.

The hospital, estimated to cost Rs.9.01 crore, would have state-of-the-art medical equipment . It would be completed by the end of 2008.

Mr. Antony was received by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Suresh Mehta and Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Naval Command Vice Admiral J.S. Bedi.

Rear Admiral D.K. Joshi, Commandant (Designing); Commodore T.K. Ashokan, Director General, Naval Academy Project, and Commodore K. Sivakumar, Commanding Officer INS Zamorin, were present at the function. Also present were Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy, MPs A.P. Abdullakutty and P. Karunakaran, MLAs K.C. Joseph, P. Jayarajan and Ramachandran Kadannappally, Chief Secretary Lizzie Jacob and Kannur University Vice-Chancellor P. Chandramohan.