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Copter project at Honda to get off the ground



The long-awaited Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s helicopter maintenance and overhaul project proposed at Honda in Sattari taluka will get off the ground as French company Safran (the joint-venture partner) on Friday announced the start of construction work for building premises in three months’ time.

Officials of Safran and HAL said the greenfield project over 1,000 sq. mtr of area at the Honda industrial estate will be ready for commissioning by June 2021 and will go in for expansion in capacity by 2025.

“We believe in local talent. The project will employ Goans who will be sent to France for training, and it will create employment for the state,” said the officials of both the companies.

The officials disclosed that designing of the plant facility is complete and recruitment will commence shortly. They said that both the Goa IDC and the Goa Investment Promotion Board have played a role in putting the project back on track.

The announcement was made at the Indo-French conclave held in Candolim,  which was attended by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik, Consul General of France in Mumbai Sonia Barbry, senior French embassy officials, representatives of French companies in India  and members of the Goan industry.

The project had been announced in 2016 by Manohar Parrikar during his tenure as defence minister. Thanks to being dormant for several years, it had been feared that the project would not take off in the state.

Representatives of about 80 Indo-French companies participated in the conclave which resulted in signing of letters of intent by about six companies.

The conclave focused on investments in shipping and logistics, aerospace, defence and green technology for smart buildings.

Promising all support to French companies seeking collaborations with Goan companies, the Chief Minister said the state’s infrastructure is set to improve due to the Mopa airport.

He added that the IPB has also been streamlined now and would give single-window clearance in 30 days time.

Barbry struck the right chord with members of the Goan industry when she started her speech in Hindi.

“France loves Goa,” the Consul General said, adding that her country had close ties with the state in naval operations and with the Goa University.

France also takes active part in the annual Serendipity festival in the state, she said, adding that India can count on support from France through the French embassy.

There are about 550 Indo-French companies currently operating across India, of which handful are in Goa. These includes pharma player Sanofi, Accor Hotel, KIneco-Kaman, Albea, etc., it was revealed at the conclave.

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