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From the archives - dated January 5, 1967

Nasik HAL unit delivers aircraft

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has begun delivery of completed M.I.G. aircraft. The three major units of H.A.L. constituting the M.I.G. complex at Nasik, Koraput and Hyderabad “are in the construction stage but assembly and delivery of completed aircraft has now begun at Nasik.” According to the annual report of the company for 1965-66, there was a substantial and well-established organisation for aircraft design and development in Bangalore division of the company. “The divisions at Nasik, Hyderabad, Kanpur and Koraput are in the process of setting up their own design departments to deal with the problems of the M.I.G. project.” The report further said that owing to devaluation of the rupee, capital costs in the M.I.G. projects had risen substantially. The Chairman of the H.A.L., Mr. S.S. Khera, who released the report, said here [New Delhi] to-day [January 4] that there was urgent need for forecasting demand for aircraft, for both civil and military uses, over the next 10 to 15 years at least, in order to develop the aircraft industry in India. Mr. Khera said that he had proposed an enquiry on the future development of the aircraft industry on the lines of the Bhabha Committee’s enquiry into the electronic industry. The suggestion had been made to the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Union Cabinet recently and was still to be considered. Mr. Khera said that what Indian scientists and engineers in this line needed was the backing of their efforts “with appropriate opportunities, resources and encouragement.” The well-developed design organisation to the Bangalore factory could give a lead in the matter of designing suitable aircraft, rather than wait for the lead to come from the users like the Air Force. Such was the trend in the aircraft industry all over the world.

Oil well fire in Upper Assam

The Oil and Natural Gas Commission’s well No. 25 at Rudrasagar, five miles from Sibsagar town in Upper Assam, caught fire at four this morning [January 4] and till late in the evening flames continued to rise to a height of 120 feet, official reports said here [Gauhati], to-night [January 4]. All families in the neighbourhood have been evacuated to a safer place. The fire-fighting squad at the well site with the aid of reinforcements from Jorhat and Dibrugarh had been battling for hours to bring the fire under control. The well burst yesterday evening [January 3] and crude oil gushed out with great speed. The fire broke out this morning [January 4], the reports added. A report from Jorhat said to-night [January 4] that fire brigade squads were still battling ceaselessly to control the fire but to no effect. A wide area around the well site had assumed a smoky and dangerous atmosphere and the place had been cordoned off.

No visa fee for foreign tourists

India to-day [January 4] abolished unilaterally the tourist visa fee for the foreign tourists visiting India and announced a number of Customs relaxations as part of its drive to promote tourism in the 1967 International Tourist year. Even those coming without a visa can now spend up to seven days in India on temporary landing permit: hitherto they could spend only three days. The tourists will not have to fill in the tourist baggage re-export form for the articles allowed duty-free. India is the second country to abolish the visa fee, the first being Yugoslavia.

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