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Chandrababu, Venkaiah Lay Foundation Stone of BEL's Optics Mfg


Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu yesterday laid the foundation stone for the long-delayed Bharat Electronics Limited's new optics manufacturing facility at Nimmaluru village near here.

BEL, which has a similar facility in Machilipatnam town, wanted another 50-acre site for expansion of its activity and made a request to the state government way back in 2008. After clearing several hurdles, the state government finally allotted the required land to BEL in April this year. This will be the largest night vision equipment manufacturing facility in the country.

BEL will manufacture futuristic optical, night vision and soldier surveillance devices at a cost of Rs 300 crore at the new facility which will be ready by 2018. "If the Government of India places orders, the project could be further expanded with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore," Venkaiah Naidu said, addressing a public meeting on the occasion. The Centre has sanctioned defence projects worth Rs 6,600 crore for Andhra Pradesh in the last two years, he said.

"BEL is setting up a Defence Systems Integration Complex in Anantapur district at a cost of Rs 650 crore. This could be scaled up to Rs 900 crore. A Naval Air Station will soon come up at Bobbili in Vizianagaram district with an investment of Rs 3,266 crore," the Union Minister said. "A DRDO Missile Testing Facility (Rs 1,000 crore) at Nagayalanka on the Bay of Bengal coast, a National Open Air Range, which will be a defence systems evaluation centre, (Rs 500 crore) in Kurnool district and training centre (Rs 500 crore) in Chittoor district are some of the other projects that will come up in AP," Venkaiah added.

Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Y Satyanarayana Chowdary, Machilipatnam MP K Narayana Rao and others attended the event.

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