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Impasse over proposed Reliance Naval Project

Fixing of the price for land has turned into a thorny issue for the ambitious naval shipbuilding facility proposed by the Anil Ambani-led Reliance ADA Group at Rambilli, about 70 km from Visakhapatnam.

The MoU for the project had been inked between Mr. Anil Ambani and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in the presence of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Nirmala Sitharaman at the CII Partnership Summit here on January 11, 2016.

‘No response’ ::

While the government has informed the project proponent, Reliance Naval Engineering (erstwhile Reliance Defence), that it is ready to transfer the land ownership on payment of ₹17.5 lakh per acre, there has been no response to the offer.

Apparel park ::

Highly reliable sources told The Hindu that the project proponent was insisting on allotment of land on the lines of the 1,000 acres given to the Lankan apparel major, Brandix, which had set up an apparel park at Atchutapuram near here. Brandix had been allotted land on lease for at the rate of ₹1 per acre per annum.

A senior official said the authorities were considering various options.

Of the 3,000 acres sought for the defence shipbuilding facility, the A.P. Industrial Infrastructure Corporation has already earmarked 1,000 acres.

Ambani’s promise ::

At the time of signing the MoU, Mr. Ambani had announced an investment of ₹5,000 crore.

This would go up further in the next phases due to projected investment by the Navy worth ₹3 lakh crore under the ‘Make in India’ initiative on acquisitions and fleet modernisation.

Rambilli is home to the Naval Alternative Operational Base (NAOB), where nuclear-powered Arihant Class submarines, which are under construction at the Ship Building Centre in the city, will be docked.

BARC facility ::

In close vicinity, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is also setting up a huge facility.

Visakhapatnam is also the headquarters for the submarine arm of the Eastern Naval Command.

Besides Reliance ADA Group, Garden Reach Shipbuilding and Engineers, one of the premier public sector shipyards in the country, had also made a proposal for allotment of site to establish a greenfield shipbuilding facility.

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