Antony lays foundation stone for BEL Centre

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Kochi, Nov 26 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today laid the foundation stone of the 'Product Support Centre' of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) at Kalamassery near here.

Addressing a huge gathering after lighting the traditional lamp, Mr Antony said the Centre would back the product support activities of the Indian Navy, National Physical&Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) and Cochin Shipyard Limited.

He said BEL's outsourcing partner KELTRON would also benefit as its order book was expected to double with the establishment of the Centre.

On the demand for the Defence Ministry to take over the ailing KELTRON, Mr Antony said, '' it would be difficult for the Minsitry to take over KELTRON but would extend all help for the revival of the organisation.'' ''The concerted efforts of the Centre and the Kerala government brought this unit to the state. It was the defence ministry's third unit after BRAHMOS and HAL,'' he said.

He said all political parties should work together on matters of development and urged the state government to utilise the congenial and postive outlook of the UPA government towards Kerala.

''The Defence Ministry and the State Industries Ministry worked as a team to make the centre a reality and assure that more such projects would be brought to Kerala,'' the Defence Minister added.

Reiterating the importance of development for the state, Mr Antony said the co-operation of all central ministries would be sought to script a developmental story for the state.

Delivering the Presidential speech, State Industries&Commerce Minister Elamaram Kareem said the electronic manufacturing sector would get a boost with BEL's centre.

'' The government was planning to make Kochi the 'electronic manufacturing hub' in Kerala and KSIDC was procuring around 1,000 acre of land for the purpose,'' Mr Kareem said.

Besides, the KINFRA Hi-tech Park here would have an 'Electronic Hardware Zone' developed by NEST, convention and trade centre developed by Zoom Developers, Gem&Jewellery Park, Bio-technology Park and an IT Zone developed by Sutherland, Mr Antony said.

UNI MA VV SB HT1525

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