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Russia partners with Pipavav Defence to build Grigorivich frigates in India

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New Delhi, (IANS): With India close to choosing Grigorivich frigates for its navy, Russia is partnering with Anil Ambani-led Pipavav Defence to build these ships under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, official sources said on Thursday.

They will be upgraded versions of Talwar-class ships, or the Russian equivalent of Krivak-III.

Photo Credit-Indian Defence News
Photo Credit-Indian Defence News

Confirming this to IANS, at least two senior defense officials said a team from Russia evaluated three or four private and state-run shipyards as they were keen on an Indian partner if the ships were to be built in India. This will be a pre-condition for the order valued at $3-$3.5 billion.

The sites evaluated were Pipavav’s yard in Gujarat, Larsen and Toubro’s unit at Ennore, and the state-run Cochin Shipyard in Kerala. Pipavav, a majority stake in which was acquired by the Reliance Group a few months ago, emerged the winner.

“The Prime Minister’s Office is closely watching the development,” one of the two officials told IANS. “This is likely to be an order that will be placed on the Government of Russia by our government.”

Incidentally, the development comes against the backdrop of the Navy vice chief, Vice Admiral P. Murugesan, stating on Tuesday that India was exploring the possibility of getting upgraded Talwar-class ships and was in talks with Russia for its Grigorivich frigates technology.

“As per our maritime perspective plan, we have to build a certain number of ships in a certain time. We are exploring the possibility to expedite the acquisition of certain number of ships,” Murugesan told reporters here. “But this will not be an import. It has to be made in India.”

The idea is to have a 198-ship force by 2027, up from the current 137 vessels.

India has been stressing on domestic defense production under the “Make in India” program, an important aspect of which is to get technology transfers and inviting foreign firms to manufacture in India.

The Grigorivichs are improved variants of the six Talwar-class frigates the navy obtained between 2003 and 2013. The maritime capability perspective plan of the Indian Navy envisages a 198-ship force by 2027, up from the current 137 vessels.

Already, 48 warships are currently under construction at Indian shipyards, including aircraft carriers, frigates, destroyers, submarines, corvettes, and fast attack craft.

In March, the Reliance Group had announced its acquisition of a 18-percent stake from the then promoters of Pipavav Defence, 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.

The company is said to be a strong contender for a tender, potentially worth Rs.60,000 crore, to build six advanced submarines for the navy along with five other private and state-run firms such as Larsen and Toubro, Pipavav Defence, and the state-run Mazagon dockyard.

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)