December 28, 2013

Navy ignores Cochin Shipyard Limited in building platform docks

Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), which had recently completed the first phase construction of India's first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) is in a state of shock with the reported decision of the Indian Navy to exclude it from the list of firms that will be building landing platform docks (LPDs).

Sources at CSL said the Navy had decided to build four LPDs and the bids were sent to private shipyards, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering and ABG Shipyard. They said as per the inputs received by them, Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. (HSL) would build two of the proposed LPDs and the winning company among the three private shipyards will build the remaining two. CSL authorities had already taken up the issue with the defence ministry through the higher ups in the ministry of shipping. "We understand that some rethinking is going on with the Centre exploring the possibilities of including CSL in this deal," a top official of the shipyard said.

The unions within CSL and several public personalities are already planning to approach defence minister A K Antony against this 'discrimination'. They plan to give representations to Antony who is expected to visit CSL on Tuesday to commission the fast petrol vessel (FPV) built by the shipyard for the coast guard.

"We understand the Navy is citing the ongoing IAC work as a reason for not involving CSL. They fear that LPD work would affect IAC's delivery schedule. But their apprehensions are misplaced. The hull-work of IAC is already over and many of the workers engaged in the section would be free now. What is left of IAC is mainly the outfit work. Also, by the time the designs for the proposed LPDs are ready, it will take another two or three years and IAC would be ready by then," said MP P Rajeeve.

CSL staff unions point out that shipyard would be left with practically no fresh orders once the 21 FPVs for ICG are delivered. "The ship building industry as a whole is passing through a rough period across the globe and the only sure orders for the shipyards come from the security forces. We hoped that we would get the first preference when the Navy places fresh vessel-building orders considering our achievements. The Navy's decision has shocked us," a union leader said. 
- Times of india

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