Military


INS Angre

Western Naval Command headquarters is in INS Angre. Bombay Castle and other historical and aesthetically important buildings and Features are located in INS Angre. The Naval Dockyard stretches from Lion Gate to Old Customs house with a clocktower oppostie the Great Western Building.

The Naval Symphonic Band, one of the pioneer bands of the Indian Navy, was commissioned in 1945 at Mumbai, with a strength of 50 musicians under the aegis of Lt Cdr SE Hills MBE, RCMN, RNVR. This band was located at INS Angre Mumbai then known as Castle Barracks.

An Inter-Government agreement was concluded in 1987 for setting up of armament repair facilities at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. It was envisaged, in November 1993, that the said facility would support repair of weapons worth Rs 600 crore. Pursuant to the Inter-Government agreement of 1987, a contract was concluded only in June 1993 for supply of equipment costing Rs 40.03 crore. Part supply of equipment worth Rs 9.24 crore had already been received between March 1995 and March 1996 and the balance is likely to be received by December 1996. Civil works, necessary to accommodate these equipment at a cost of Rs8.63 crore (revised to Rs 9.18 crore in Januray 1996) were, however, sanctioned very late in January 1995, although it was known that supply of the aforesaid equipment was already in the pipeline. Scrutiny of the said sanction further revealed that the civil works would be completed in 36 months from the date of award of the contract for construction. DGNP had since concluded a design consultancy contract in January 1996 for preparation and initiation of the required tender process. But the contract for civil works has not yet (September 1996) been awarded.

The delayed action to sanction the civil works had two effects. Firstly, equipment for armament repair costing over Rs 40 crore is likely to remain unutilised optimistically for the next three years causing deterioration of equipment. Secondly, it would correspondingly delay the completion of indigenous armament/weapon repair facilities, in the absence of which such repairs are being carried out by replacement of complete subassemblies/units ex-stock and by utilising the services of foreign specialists. No data is available to work out the extra cost involved in the process.

The Ministry sanctioned in 1985 construction of a new dry dock at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai at a cost of Rs 51 crore for completion by December 1997. The Ministry revised the sanction and approved construction of a larger size dry dock in July 1986 at a cost of Rs 68 crore. The Ministry engaged consultants in October 1988 for preparation of detailed project report at Rs 92.11 lakh, which was valid up to April 1993.

Meantime, Naval HQ proposed in May 1991 to shift this dry dock project to Karwar and ordered stoppage of all works under execution at Mumbai. The Ministry turned down this proposal and works recommenced in February 1993. It necessitated extension of consultancy agreement up to April 1997 at a cost of Rs 1.50 crore besides revision in the cost of project to Rs 123.54 crore.The physical progress of civil works as of June 1998 was only 30.5 per cent. The contractor had slowed down the execution of works due to dispute regarding payment of labour rates. Meanwhile, the period of consultancy agreement expired which was revalidated at a cost of Rs 1.74 crore up to April 2000.

British historians have described Kanhoji Angre as a pirate, ignoring that he was appointed by the Maratha king. Kanhoji Angre captured three merchant ships carrying goods of the East India Company in 1718. Charles Boone, the then governor of Bombay, launched a campaign against the coastal towns, but failed. The English launched a fresh campaign in 1720, when shells from floating batteries burst in vain against the rocks of Vijaydurg fort. The attempt to land inside the fort ended in disaster and the English squadron soon retired to Bombay. The joint attempt by the Portuguese and the English to humble Kanhoji also failed miserably in 1722. By the time of his death in 1729 (some give it as 1731), Kanhoji Angre had emerged as a master of the Arabian sea from Surat to south Konkan. After Kanhoji, his son Sekhoji continued Maratha exploits at sea till his death in 1733. After Sekhoji's death, the Angre might was split between two brothers, Sambhaji and Manaji, because of divisions in the family.



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