PM to commission much-delayed warship on Aug 16

A much-delayed warship-building project will finally be seeing the light of day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will commission the navy's newest destroyer, INS Kolkata, on August 16 in Mumbai, a warship built indigenously under a Rs 15,000-crore project, running four years behind schedule.

The 6,800-tonne destroyer is the first in a series of three warships being constructed by the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) under a naval programme called Project-15A.

The project has recorded a cost escalation of 225%. India has attributed the rise in cost to factors such as delay in supply of steel by Russia, increased wages for Russian specialists and delay in the finalisation of costs of weapons and sensors to be fitted on the warships.

Two other warships, INS Kochi and INS Chennai, are scheduled to be delivered to the navy by mid-2015. INS Kolkata was in news in March after a naval officer was killed and two shipyard workers injured in an accident involving the warship while it was undergoing tests at the MDL.

The Comptroller and Auditor General had slammed the work culture and functioning of defence public sector undertakings in a report three years ago.

Modi will commission INS Kolkata two months after he had boarded India's largest and most expensive warship, the INS Vikramaditya, off the Goa coast on June 14. The navy had then given him a ringside view of its combat readiness, newest platforms, expanding air power and the challenges that confront the force.

 

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