'Shipbuilding has a long way to go' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Shipbuilding has a long way to go'

One of the oldest shipyards in the country, Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, is in revival mode. Its CMD, Rear Admiral Ajit Tewari, is currently working on inducting a young workforce and modernising equipment in his bid to make it a profit-making plant by March-end.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 19:18 IST

One of the oldest shipyards in the country, Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, is in revival mode. And it is looking to get the revival package from the Centre to overcome various problems it is facing. Its CMD, Rear Admiral Ajit Tewari, is currently working on inducting a young workforce and modernising equipment in his bid to make it a profit-making plant by March-end. He spoke to K.K. Das about it. Excerpts:

Why has India not considered shipbuilding as a core industry?

I personally think the time is ripe to do it, keeping in view the sector’s ability to generate employment. In the context of HSL, I can say that various ways of additional indirect labour, roughly 1,000, can be created by this way as of now. I need young workforce, welders, fitters and others. When will India fall in the line of countries like Korea, Japan and China, which have 78 per cent market share in global ship-building?

India has a long way to go. Shipbuilding is unlike other industries in the domestic market. There are seven shipyards in the country, but we’re still not competing among ourselves. The HSL and Cochin shipyards are pitted against world majors. At the moment, the country’s share in global shipbuilding is less than one per cent. Let us achieve the potential. We’ve enough technical background coupled with the basic ingredients to become a world-class shipbuilder. At HSL, we’re going for modernization and best practices. Roughly, 30 per cent equipment used in the making of a ship is indigenous.

What about news that a private firm is trying to take over HSL?

A strategic partnership has some advantages but it has nothing to do with the issue of privatization of HSL. We can have tie-ups with world shipbuilding majors to improve ourselves. We’ve to learn how to build ships better in future. There could be some people that are interested in building ships.

What about complaints of delayed deliveries by HSL?

It is a past legacy now. The situation was bound to improve once we got the revival package from the government. All ships that are presently on order will be delivered on time. NIO’s Sagar Manjusha is likely to be delivered early next month. Similarly, work on a bulker for a Chennai-based firm is going on at full speed and we will deliver it to them by August, as per schedule. Of late, the shipyard has completed major lay up repairs on one of ONGC’s largest jack-up rigs, Sagar Pragati. Thus, HSL has got orders for the construction of 19 ships, amounting to approximately Rs 12,00 crore.

When will HSL become a profit-making company?

By the end of the current financial year. Last year, the turnover was Rs 237 crore and an operational profit of Rs 2 crore without counting interest and depreciation cost. This year, HSL is going to make a net profit.

What’s the impact of the Navy’s mantra of indigenisation?

I’ve got a few refit orders from them. At present, we’re carrying out the medium refit of Vagli, which is almost complete. Also, work on medium refit and modernization on another submarine has begun recently. Let me add here that it is being attempted for the first time in the country.