DRDO to set up Missile Test Range in Machilipatnam

The Defence Research and Development Organisation is planning to set up a long range missile testing centre at coastal Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh, a top official said here today.

DRDO chief V K Saraswat said the organization has resolved issues with the Ministry of Petroleum as the areawhere the facility is likely to come up falls under Krishna-Godavari basin.

"We have intentions to set up a launch site at Machilipatnam. We have done all our initial spade work. We are working with the state government to get the land as required. As far as our working with the Ministry of Petroleum is concerned we have amicably sorted out the issue with them," Saraswat told reporters.

He was in the city to participate in 26th National Convention of Aerospace Engineers and National Seminar on Expanding Frontiers in Aerospace Technologies- Challenges and Opportunities.

The DRDO chief said the total test facility needs around 260 acres of land, which has already been identified.

"As soon as the government clearance comes for land we will start creating infrastructure. It will take three years to set up the centre after the land has been handed over to us. The total investment required would be around Rs 1000 crore," he added.

Replying to query on disputes with Petroleum Ministry, Saraswat said all the issues related to the KG Basin operations have been resolved.

"There is no dispute at the moment. It is an engineering solution which has to be evolved and that we successfully done," he explained.

Ministries of Defence and Petroleum were at loggerheads over the issue of carrying operations in some of the oil and gas blocks of KG Basin as according to Defence Ministry they fall under high security zone.

The issue has reportedly been brought to the Prime Minister's notice and operations in some of the blocks have been stopped forcing companies that own them invoke the Force Majeure clause.

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