This refers to the article “Navy finds defects in Scorpene” (June 15). It is unfortunate that despite three decades of experience in submarine construction, public sector shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Ltd. is unable to meet minimal operational and safety standards. It is imperative for the government to involve the private sector in the submarine and warship building programmes for the Indian Navy. This is also a good opportunity to revive several private sector shipyards, which were booming just a decade ago but are languishing now due to a lack of new orders. Several yards are undergoing the insolvency resolution process, but are unable to find suitable bidders primarily due to lack of orders.
It would be a wise move to reserve fresh naval orders for the private sector in order to attract leading players in the heavy engineering sector from India as well as abroad to bid for these stressed assets. Fortunately, the state of the art infrastructure commissioned by private sector yards during their peak years is intact. This would also fit in well with the government's objective to reboot the economy. The experience of China and South Korea has established that compared to other industries, the shipbuilding sector has the highest economic multiplier effect on jobs, investment and growth of ancillary industries.
S B Bhalerao, Mumbai
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