Shipyard capacity gap worries expert
By C Shivakumar / ENS - CHENNAI
23rd September 2012 08:35 AM
Former chief of naval staff and chairman of the National Maritime Foundation raised concerns over India’s maritime security interests claiming that the country’s shipyards lack the capacity to meet warship requirements of the Navy and the Coast Guard.
Addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry’s conference on ‘Building the Builder’s Navy’, Admiral (Retd) Sureesh Mehta said a significant amount of ships and submarines are to be acquired in the next 15 years as per the Navy’s long-term plans.
The indigenous construction of these assets requires an estimated capacity of over 100 standard ship units. The three defence public sector unit (DPSU) shipyards put together, however, are presently geared for the construction of only 40 standard ship units, he pointed out.
Add to it the requirements of Coast Guard, the gap in strategic warship capacity widens further. This is a cause of serious concern, admiral Mehta added.
The former chief of naval staff noted that indigenous ship building accounts for nearly Rs 9,000 crore ($1.9 billion) annually, constituting nearly 60 per cent of the Navy’s total acquisition budget.
Whilst the shipyards have been over-active in pressing for their efforts at grabbing orders, there has been scant regard towards improving capacity and productivity, which continues to be much below international standards. While ships of 3,500 tonnes are globally built in 30 months, we take as much as 72 months to build Godavari class, resulting in tripling of cost, the former navy chief said.
“The public shipyards, with a tight form of bureaucratic control, have shown considerable lack of accountability in perspective planning. Yet, the system allows them to bite more than they can chew, and they continue to manage a lion’s share of the Indian defence sector orders,” the admiral said.
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