New Delhi: The long pending submarine base project has finally got the green signal by the government. The central government approved the diversion of forest land for building a strategic technical area for a control and command area. The project is associated with India’s secret submarine base.
Since 2010, the clearance of forest land in Rambilli off Vizag for the acquisition of 680 hectares of the land has been pending. The land was required for the second phase of Project Varsha(code name for the naval base).
As the project had been pending since 2010, picked up for the discussion many times. After 2010, in the year 2013 in April then in the year 2016 in January, the project discussed but every time not approved by the govt. due to negative effect on the environment. Now, finally after a long time, the central government approved the project.
Why the forest land is required?
The need of the forest land is required for the second phase of the NAOB(Naval Alternate Operating Base) which is about to begin expanding facilities to safely house, recharge station and technical support areas of the Indian Navy for future nuclear-powered vessels.
According to the proposal, after the approval of project on December 20, the total construction area will not exceed 1.94 hectares of forest land. It will include a strategic technical area, a command and control area, and strategic institutional area also.
For the proposal of the project area, earlier hill areas of South Rayavaram, Dimili, Mamidivada, Z Chintuva, and Sitapalem were considered but the reserved forest at Rambili and Kalavalapalli were found suitable for the project by DRDO. As per DRDO, this area will be suitable as it would help act as camouflage for defence needs. The area approved is located at the Sarada river.
The government cleared series of projects and this one is latest in the series. Also, the testing of a new missile in Andaman island and minimum two strategic facilities in Madhya Pradesh state.
DRDO, who worked for building infrastructure for strategic forces, had faced great difficulty in land acquisition for the important projects needed to build nuclear assets like stores, service and equipment in the past, like missiles and weapons.
Project’s Effect On Environment:
The area got approval of the government for the phase 2 of the project is a degraded area of the forest with mostly shrubby growth vegetation. Government before giving green signal to the project put the condition of minimal disruption of the forest.
The DRDO has been warned against any activity which could adversely affect the ground water and any other mining or construction related activities of the area.
The base of the Rambili Navy, located 60 km south of Vishakhapatnam, will spread to 1,590 hectares, where the streams and Sarada rivers flow in the ocean.
The naval base will be a deep “unique enclave” on the natural channel, with easy access to the sea with extensive underground storage facilities. A lot of work has been completed in the first phase of the project, as well as more than a dozen tunnels are being opened to create an underground facility, this has been confirmed by the satellite images.
Moreover, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is also constructing a research and development centre to support submarine base just 20 km away at Atchutapuram.
India’s Upcoming Projects Of Nuclear Submarine:
Now, the nation is eyeing to construct five more nuclear armed submarines under the Advanced Technology Vessel which will be capable to launch missile up to the range of 5,000 km.
In case, if India is hit with a nuclear attack in future, these missiles of Arihant class of submarines can defend the country. Apart from this, there is a plan to create at least six nuclear-powered but conventional weapon submarines in India, which is meant to operate as the escorts for major battle structures and strategic assets.