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Defence Minister to inaugurate infra projects at Karwar naval base

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will on Tuesday inaugurate a number of infrastructure projects at the Indian Navy's strategically located base in Karnataka's Karwar, being developed considering India's long-term security interests in the Indian Ocean region.

The Navy is expanding the crucial naval base as part of Project 'Seabird'.

The defence ministry said the infrastructure projects to be inaugurated by Singh will include two major piers and seven residential towers comprising 320 houses for naval officers and defence civilian personnel.

The first phase of Project Seabird was designed to accommodate 10 ships and was successfully concluded in 2011.

The infrastructure comprised a breakwater, a pier capable of berthing 10 ships, a 10,000-ton ship lift and dry berth, a naval ship repair yard, logistics and armament storage facilities and accommodation for 1,000 personnel.

The Cabinet Committee on Security's approval for Phase-IIA of the project accorded approval for the berthing of 32 ships and submarines, along with 23 yardcraft, the ministry said.

"The phase IIA marine works include piers designed to accommodate ships/submarines, providing a berthing space of more than 6 kilometers, technical facilities, electrical substations, switch gears, and support utilities," it said.

"The center-piece of phase IIA Works is an iconic covered dry berth, standing at a height of 75 meters, taller than the Qutub Minar in Delhi, and spread over 33,000 metre square land area," the ministry said in a statement.

It said this dry berth is designed to facilitate simultaneous docking and comprehensive enclosed maintenance of up to four capital ships.

In phase IIA, four different townships encompassing residential accommodations, with about 10,000 dwelling units of all types for officers, senior and junior sailors and defence civilian staff, are being constructed.

The setting up of a green field dual-use naval air station with a 2,700-metre runway and civil enclave will provide air support to the aircraft embarked upon various naval ships and facilitate operations of commercial aviation flights, the ministry said.

The project's execution involves industry leaders such as AECOM India Ltd., Larsen & Toubro, ITD Cementation India Ltd, Nagarjuna Construction Company, Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd., and Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

"Once fully operational, with an estimated 50,000 individuals residing in the naval facilities spread over the 25-kilometer expanse, a substantial contribution to the local economy is foreseen," the ministry said.

It said the establishment of the naval dockyard and the maintenance needs of ships would act as catalysts for the industrial growth of the region.

"The naval air station, along with the civil enclave, is poised to improve air connectivity to Uttar Karnataka region and boost the tourism industry in both North Karnataka and South Goa. Upon full operationalisation, the base is projected to provide government employment to around 8,000 personnel," it added.

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