A few months after Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari had remarked that his ministry would not give an inch of land to the Navy for housing, the force’s Western Naval Command chief Vice Admiral Girish Luthra Monday said land issues with the Mumbai Port Trust had been resolved.
Gadkari had made the remark on January 11 this year at a function here while voicing his disappointment at the Navy’s objection to a floating jetty plan at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai.
Vice Admiral Luthra was present at the function whenGadkari made the remark.
“Actually, Navy is needed at the borders from where terrorists sneak in. Why does everyone (in the Navy) want to stay in South Mumbai? They (Navy) had come to me, asking for a plot (of land). I will not give even an inch of land. Please don’t come to me again,” Gadkari had said at the time.
The remark had caused controversy with opposition parties hitting out at Gadkari for belittling the Navy and its services to the nation.
Speaking Monday at the Navy Day conference here, Vice Admiral Luthra said, “A series of discussions on land issues have taken place between the Indian Navy and Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT). It has been resolved after discussions took place at the level of Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Shipping.”
He added that the Navy had given permission for the construction and completion of a commercial cruise terminal near the Naval Dockyard and security concerns related to it were being solved.
He also said that the Navy had not asked for any land from the MbPT for berthing.
Calling safety and security issues being tackled by the Navy as “challenging”, the officer said “unlike land, we cannot build fences in the sea”.
“We are in the process of setting up an Automatic Identification System with the help of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). These satellite tracking devices will be fitted onto fishing boats to help the Navy identify registered boats and their movement on the high seas,” said another Navy officer.