Asia’s biggest naval academy designed by Chandigarh woman

January 8th, 2009 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghEzhimala (Kerala), Jan 8 (IANS) It is another feather in her cap. For Namita Singh, one of the leading architects in the country, it was a proud moment when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here Thursday inaugurated the Indian Naval Academy, Asia’s biggest, that she has designed. It was a project she bagged beating several architectural firms.Namita, 60, heads Satnam, Namita and Associates, a leading Chandigarh-based architecture firm and it was through a national tender in 1988 that her firm bagged the prestigious project to design the Indian Naval Academy in Kannur here.

“This is certainly a project that I will cherish because it is not a small one and is meant for the country. It was really satisfying working on it,” Namita told IANS. “I am really excited.”

The Indian Naval Academy is the biggest project being handled by a woman architect in Southeast Asia. The institution is located on an area of 200,000 sq mt, including seven km of beach land.

“The roads were designed and laid in 1989, and slowly the plan too was ready. By 2000 the work on the building began and ever since I used to be here for a week every month to oversee it. The construction is still on and in less than two years it will be over,” Namita said.

She stepped into the world of architecture in 1970 and has designed and built numerous aesthetic marvels throughout India. Her work includes institutional, commercial and residential buildings. Among them are the Centre for Development of Telematics, New Delhi, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Advanced Cardiac Centre, Chandigarh, and Baba Farid University, Faridkot, to name a few.

The nearly 2,500-acre sprawling Naval Academy is situated on land that was the capital of the ancient Mooshika kings. It was a flourishing sea port and the centre of trade in ancient Kerala and one of the major battle fields during the Chola-Chera war in the 11th century. It is believed that Buddha also visited Ezhimala.

The Rs.7.21 billion ($149 million) naval school will conduct B.Tech courses for 750 cadets and commissioned officers from the academic session commencing next year.

The engineering programmes at the academy have been drawn up by the Indian Navy with the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

Officers from foreign navies will also be eligible to attend the programmes at the academy, which will be headed by Rear Admiral M.P. Muraleedharan.

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