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Indian Navy gets nod to set up Very Low-Frequency radar station in Telangana to contact with submarines

Source : The New Indian Express

Indian Navy gets nod to set up Very Low-Frequency radar station in Telangana to contact with submarines

Indian Navy gets nod to set up Very Low-Frequency radar station in Telangana to contact with submarines

HYDERABAD: The 15-year-long wait for the Indian Navy may end now as Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, on Wednesday, gave his nod to start the works on setting up a very low frequency (VLF) radar station in Pudur mandal from February onwards. The chief minister said that the works would start in the forest area near the 400-year-old Sri Ramalingeswara Swamy temple in Damagundam without causing any harm to the religious structure.     

Parigi MLA T Rammohan Reddy and a team led by Navy Commander Karthik Shankar met the Chief Minister at the Secretariat on Wednesday.Karthik Shankar briefed the chief minister about the radar station. He said that the Parigi area would be developed by establishing a radar station with heavy equipment.

The Navy Commander explained to the Chief Minister that job opportunities would also be provided at the radar station. The chief minister asked the Parigi MLA to coordinate with Navy officials to begin the work. Colonel Himvant Reddy, Navy Staff- Sandeep Das, Raj Bir Singh, Mani Sharma, Manoj Sharma and others were present.

The backdrop

The Eastern Naval Command (ENC) had requested the State government to allot around 2,730 acres in Pudur and Damagundam villages in Vikarabad district, 90 km from Hyderabad, to set up a very low frequency radar station. The process to acquire land and allot it to the Navy was started way back in 2008. Later, the Telangana government even issued a GO for the same in 2017.Though Rammohan Reddy led the Navy delegation several times to the government in the last ten years, the locals opposed the setting up of the radar station.

The objections raised by the locals included damage to the temple, environment and alleged health problems to the people due to the radar station. Protestors even formed a joint  action committee and wrote postcards to the Supreme Court in 2020. In the same year, the high court directed the officials to maintain status quo on radar station and not to fell a single tree in the reserve forest of Damagundam village.

In 2014, Navy officials assured the state government that they would maintain the 400-year-old Shiva temple, as villagers opposed relocation of the historical temple for the radar station. The allocation of around 2,730 acres of land includes 32.19 acres belonging to the temple. A large number of people would visit this temple during Shivaratri.

Road access to villagers

The Navy even agreed to provide access by road to the villagers through Defence areas to the temple for conducting daily rituals.However, after 2014 there was not much progress on the proposed radar station.

The Navy proposed two VLF stations in the country. The INS Kattabomman, a VLF-transmission facility, was started at Vijayanarayanam in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. However, the second station proposed in Telangana did not take off due to various reasons. In the meantime, the state government had requested the defence ministry to allot Bison Polo lands for the construction of the Secretariat.

As the Centre did not allot the lands, the then BRS government too did not respond to the Centre’s request to allot lands to the Navy in Parigi. The case in the high court too delayed the project.The Navy selected Pudur mandal as a strategic location, as it could communicate with deployed units in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.The VLF radar station is intended to communicate with ships and submarines using low frequency radio waves.

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