Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan today said the Cochin Shipyard Limited, a leading ship building and ship repairing company in the country, will not be privatised. The minister of state for shipping gave this assurance during an interaction with trade unions and associations of CSL here, a CSL spokesperson said. During the meeting, the unions voiced their concerns about the CSL’s Initial Public offering (IPO) proposal, citing that it is the first step towards privatisation of the yard. The unions also highlighted their concerns regarding lack of sufficient orders for the shipyard. “The minister categorically assured the unions during the discussion as also during the speech that CSL will not be privatised,” a CSL spokesperson said. Radhakrishnan, also the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, said the ensuing IPO is in line with the policy of the Government of India and also to raise capital for the expansion plans of CSL. State-owned Cochin Shipyard took the decision to raise an estimated Rs 1,400-1,500 crore through an initial public offering in March this year. The company — the largest public sector shipyard in India in terms of dock capacity — caters to the defence sector as well as commercial sector worldwide. Earlier in his speech, Radhakrishnan reiterated the shipping ministry’s commitment towards the major expansion programmes undertaken in CSL. Meanwhile, ‘plate cutting’ ceremonies of two ships to be built for the Andaman and Nicobar administration were held at Cochin Shipyard here today. The plate cutting ceremony is the start of physical construction process of ships.
Radhakrishnan cut the first steel plate of Ship No 23 while Lok Sabha MP N K Premachandran cut the first steel plate of Ship No 24, the two 1200 passenger-cum-1000 tonne cargo ships contracted to be built for the administration. A Cochin Shipyard official said the vessels are designed and built as passenger vessels with electric propulsion system suitable for all weather operation on the main land to Andaman and Nicobar Island route in India and to be designed for operation as Class III special trade passenger ship engaged on international voyage. “These vessels are provided with ‘Safe Return to Port’ – SRtP notation, which provided redundancy for the vessel to reach the nearest designated port, even in case of an exigency, a shipyard release said. The basic design of these vessels are by a Kochi based ship design firm M/s SEDS which has teamed up with designers ‘Knud E Hansen’of Denmark.
The vessels have been model tested at MARIN, Netherlands. CSL is currently building two passenger-cum-cargo ships for the island territory, with 500 passengers and 150 tonne cargo capacity, which are progressing satisfactorily. Madhu S Nair, C&MD CSL, thanked the ministry for the role it played in arriving at a contract for building these vessels by including this under Make in India Scheme. Premachandran appreciated the efforts of the central government in awarding the contract to build first of its kind passenger ships to CSL.