Naval Dockyard (Mumbai)

Historical Background

The roots of the present day Naval Dockyard can be traced back to the early 18th century when a Marine Yard was set up at the same location to repair and refit ships to serve the interests of British. The sharp acumen and engineering skills essential for ship building were recognized by the British and hence they brought in master craftsman Lowjee Nusserwanjee from Surat. Thus, started the ligancy of the Wadia family and their association with ship building. The contribution made by nine generations of this family has left an indelible imprint in the annals of Maritime history of our nation. The tumultuous 19th century witnessed the successful commissioning of Duncan and Torpedo dock and Wet Basin. After independence, the first major expansion of the Naval Dockyard was approved by the Government of India in 1952. The road map was based on the Crace committee report of 1946 that identified the major lacunae and deficiencies of the Yard. Captain SM Nanda (later rose to be the Chief of Naval Staff) spearheaded this project with elan and continued his unorthodox style of work in building the Cruiser Graving Dock that was commissioned in 1962 by the then defence minister V K Krishna Menon. At about the same time, to repair and maintain the plethora of equipment and systems onboard INS Mysore (commissioned in 1957), a contemporary and state of the art Weapons Electronics Controls Overhaul and Repair Shops (WECORS) was set up in the yard. Consequent to the examination of the Yard by National Productivity Council in 1963, many Engineering departments such as Systems & Diesels and Steam test house were added. The Leander Frigate project in early 60s proved to be the bedrock of ship building for the Indian Navy and the defence ship yards. This also led to the building of the first ever boiler within the precincts of the Yard. This boiler was a frontrunner in showcasing to the world that we had come of age, and led to our transformation from a Byers’ Navy to a Builders’ Navy. The Yard, always leading the technology pack, ushered in the digital revolution by setting up its first computer in 1970. This decade also ushered in rapid growth of WECORS and building of the South break water in tandem with the ambitious induction plan of the Godavari class frigates and Ranjit class destroyers. The missile boats were raison-d’etre for India’s stupendous victory in the 1971 war. In order to undertake major overhaul of their engines, the Missile Boat Engine Repair Shop was established in 1979. With the proliferation of propulsion and other auxiliary systems, the Refrigeration and Air conditioning and Gas Turbine department were added in the late 80s. During this period, the infrastructure and facilities in the Yard were also augmented. With its time tested aphorism, ‘Success Through Perseverance’, the Naval Dockyard at Mumbai has worked ceaselessly to ensure that our ‘Men of War’ are ‘Sea and Battle Worthy’ at all times.

Housing for Defence Civilians

The foundation stone of the “Indian Naval Dockyard Workers Housing Colony, Powai was laid by His Excellency Raja Maharaj Singh, the then Governor of Bombay on 11 Jan 1950. In the last five and half decades, it has grown manifold and emerged as one of the most vibrant and eco-friendly settlement, in Mumbai. The colony, located on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg in Bhandup, spreads over an area of 266 acres. It houses over 10,000 defence civilians and their families. The nearest railway station, Kanjur Marg, is just 1 Km away. Another location, spread over an area of 11.17 acres is at Ulhasnagar. This area has thirty two Type I quarters, was transferred from Army on 12 May 1993.

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