Tuesday February 19, 2019
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India to build six new submarines for navy

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New Delhi, (IANS): India will soon float a tender — potentially worth Rs.60,000 crore — to build six advanced submarines for the navy for which six firms, including Larsen & Toubro, Pipavav Defence and the state-run Mazagon dockyard, are in the fray, informed sources said on Sunday.

“The RFP (request for proposal) for Project 75 will be called soon. It is intended to build six submarines over eight years. These will be next-generation submarines with air independent propulsion (AIP) systems,” a senior official in the defense ministry told IANS.

“A high-level committee has already inspected the shipyards of several companies, both in the private and public sectors. Based on the committee’s recommendation, all I can say is that L&T, Pipavav and Mazagon Docks are among the strong contenders,” the official added.

“Project 75 (under which six submarines are being built with French collaboration) has already been delayed by nearly 50 months. It is being brought on track. This will call for reduced delivery schedules,” the official said.

Another official told IANS that internal meetings will also start to deliberate on the findings of the eight-member panel set up to examine the facilities. “The report was submitted last month. Deliberations are due soon.”

As for the budget, of the Rs.1.23 lakh crore (Rs.1.23 trillion/$19 billion) cleared late last year for defense purchases, a whopping Rs.60,000 crore was set aside for the six stealth submarines under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

In April, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar had said that private players will also be invited for the P75 Project with incentives for early execution. But he also warned that if it is not completed in the stipulated time, heavy penalties will be imposed.

The government gave its clearance three years ago for six submarines with AIP capability and subsequently decided last year to build them in Indian yards as part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The original plan was to import two submarines. But it was later decided to make all six subs in India so that the domestic defense infrastructure is strengthened while allowing Indian companies to tie-up with the best- suited foreign collaborator.

“With AIP, a conventional submarine can stay under water for up to two weeks. Conventional ones need to come to the surface every three-five days for replenishment of oxygen,” said an official of the Defence Research and Development Organization that developed the AIP system.

“We are the only non-Western nation to have developed the technology,” the official added.

The official said the Naval Materials Research Lab at Ambernath in Maharashtra, which has developed the AIP, has tied up with a host of Indian state-run and private firms as partners in the project.

L&T’s mega shipyard, where the private company intends to execute the project, is at Kattupalli, about 40 km north of Chennai, on the east coast. This complex also includes a container port and a modular fabrication facility.

In March, the Reliance Group, led by industrialist Anil Ambani, announced that it was acquiring from the promoters of Pipavav Defence their 18-percent holding in the company, apart from a 26-percent mandatory open offer.

Pipavav’s facility is at the location by the same name on the Gujarat coast and claims modern, versatile engineering and fabrication facilities with shipbuilding infrastructure that is also suitable for the construction of a wide range of warships and submarines.

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Low Cure Rate For Childhood Cancer in India: Experts

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner

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Health insurance covers only for hospitalization and doesn’t necessarily cover the medical expenses incurred for the treatment of major illnesses. flickr

Childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India, experts said here on Friday, expressing concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data.

“The disturbing reality is that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 per cent in the developed countries. When we see the data from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but this data is not enough,” Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah.

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, cancer in children constitutes approximately 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India.

Agarwala said a large portion of the incidence of childhood cancer in society is still not addressed.

Cancer survivor. Flickr

Also, a large section who don’t have access to premier institutes are often diagnosed late due to financial crunch and that is why the overall treatment rate in India is low.

“Probably, the government and society at large are not considering it a big problem as it is just around 5 per cent. We are always campaigning for breast and cervical cancers,” Agarwala said.

“We must remember this 5 per cent of cancer is majorly curable if given proper treatment,” he said.

Leukaemia and retinoblastoma (a form of cancer where children have a white eye) are the two common forms of cancer in children.

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Talking about awareness and symptoms that parents need to watch out for, he said: “Symptoms are different for different cancers, but children who have cancer have poor growth, poor weight gain and decreased appetite. One must get their children evaluated on seeing these symptoms”.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner. (IANS)