Almost 22 years after its foundation stone was laid, the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala, on this promontory overlooking the Arabian Sea, is ready for inauguration even as the cost of setting it up has increased manifold.
The academy in Kannur district will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh January 8. Defence Minister A.K. Antony - who had watched then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi lay the foundation stone on Jan 17, 1987 - will be present.
The cost of setting up the academy at this historic spot has gone up from Rs 1.66 billion ($34 million) to Rs 7.21 billion ($149 million).
It will conduct B.Tech courses for 750 cadets and commissioned officers from the academic session commencing next year.
"The project was initially envisaged to cost Rs.166 crore (Rs.1.66 billion). After 22 years the project when completed would cost Rs 721 crore (Rs.7.21 billion)," Antony said last week.
About Rs 500 million were spent on assuring proper water supply to the academy, developing roads and other infrastructural facilities.
The engineering programmes at the academy have been drawn up by the Indian Navy in conjunction with Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
Officers from other nations will also be eligible to attend the programmes.
The academy, spread over nearly 1,000 acres, is situated on a promontory that was the capital of the ancient Mooshika kings. It was a flourishing sea port and centre of trade in ancient Kerala and one of the major battle fields during Chola-Chera war in 11th century AD. It is believed that Lord Buddha visited Ezhimala.
The academy is being set up so that all officers joining the Indian Navy pass through it and the entire officer cadre is initiated into naval life from a common background.
It will be run by the Kochi-based Southern Naval Command headed by Rear Admiral M.P. Muraleedharan.