One of India’s leading maritime businesses has unveiled plans for a new $10 million maritime training college in the Patna district of Bihar State in India.
Chairman and Managing Director of Mumbai-based Pentagon Marine Services, Capt. Nalin Pandey, made the announcement as he collected an award for services to the Indian and international maritime community at the Link India U.K. Business Awards in London. The award was presented by the Indian Deputy High Commissioner to the U.K., Dr. Virander Paul.
Capt. Pandey, who is a philanthropist in India, said the latest Pentagon Maritime Training & Research Institute (PMTRI) would start construction in the autumn. It will complement a sister college run by Pentagon in Mumbai.
Both colleges will be headed by Capt. Pandey’s wife Pratibha Pandey, a chemical engineer. Bihar is one of India’s poorest and most populous states with a population of 83 million. It is situated in the North East of the country, neighboring Nepal.
“We are immensely excited to make this announcement about India’s newest maritime college which aims to train 2,000 people a year,” he said. “India’s maritime sector is seeing massive infrastructural investment through the $15 billion Sagar Mala Coastal and Inland Waterways Mega Plan. Maritime is going to be a sector of vital importance over the next 100 years. We must have world-class training to ensure we have the skilled workforce to support it. A key point is that the college will create long-term well-paid work for people of all academic abilities across a wide range of professions within the maritime industry. That is tremendous news for Bihar which, as India’s poorest State, desperately needs to find new industries to drive education, employment and wealth creation. The college will be targeting young people aged 18-25 who will make up 64 percent of India’s population by 2020. This next generation needs stimulating, fulfilling careers and there are few more important industries in India right now than the maritime sector.”
Capt Pandey thanked the Government of Bihar for its ‘energetic support’ for the new maritime college.
“The Bihar Government has thrown its weight behind this project for a number of years and has been instrumental in making it happen,” he said. “In Bihar there is a recognition that demand for training outstrips supply. Although there are 19 engineering colleges in Bihar, the annual intake of students is only 6,200. There is a massive need to tackle this education provision gap. This is precisely where our maritime college comes in. The courses we intend to offer include marine engineering, nautical sciences, electro technical courses, advanced ship handling, crew safety, heavy lift crane operation, cleaning and hygiene, as well as various offshore training courses and maritime English. In addition, there will be diplomas and post graduate courses in ocean technology.”
At the Link Awards ceremony Capt. Pandey was acknowledged for his success in business as well as his philanthropic work. The judges made special reference to his contribution to the welfare of Indian seafarers after he successfully campaigned for better working conditions at sea. This saw Narendra Modi’s Government amend India’s Merchant Shipping Act to acknowledge the MLC-2006 IMO convention in the interest of Indian seafarers.
The judges also praised the growth of Pentagon Marine Services (PMS), the ship management division of the business. PMS was founded in 2004 and now employs 45 people across its headquarters in Mumbai and regional offices in New Delhi, Kolkata, Kochi and Chennai. It further employs 350 seafarers and operates a subsidiary in Singapore. Its clients include Stolt Tankers, Finaval and the Shipping Corporation of India.
“The growth of PMS has been due to hard work and providing a service that is genuinely different,” said Capt. Pandey. “As a smaller business we can offer a dedicated personal service with real in-depth knowledge of the customer’s requirements. Being lean also enables us to offer the most competitive price in India for ship management. We also offer customers contact and access to the highest level of Government as well as media management services. We are looking to grow across the world and are keen to engage with shipowners operating oil and chemical tankers, bulk carriers, containerships, LNGs and OSVs.”
Capt. Pandey was further acknowledged at the awards for his work helping the poor and the sick. Over the last decade he has sponsored more than 150 students from poor backgrounds to study at his maritime college in Mumbai. The majority have come from Bihar State together with students from across India. All have gone on to work in the maritime industry. Elsewhere he has provided accommodation, food, transport and hospital treatment for four to five poverty stricken cancer victims a year from Bihar. He said he plans to extend this work by building a 200-bed guesthouse for cancer patients from Bihar in Mumbai later this year. This work will be undertaken through his work with the Bihar Foundation – a Government of Bihar backed NGO.
“The Pentagon group of businesses is driven to do good and bring out the very best in people,” he said. “We believe in reinvesting back into our communities and country. I myself came from a poor rural background in Bihar. I understand the challenges such families and young people face. That is why we want to take action and do things to help people help themselves. Education for the young and care for the sick are the cornerstones of our work.”
Capt Pandey served in the Indian Merchant Navy in senior positions in India and Europe for 23 years before becoming an entrepreneur and launching Pentagon Marine Services. Capt Pandey plays an active role in Indian maritime politics. He is the Chairman of the Maritime Training and Research Foundation which was set up by India’s shipping trade body, MASSA – Maritime Association of Shipowners, Shipmanagers and Agents of which Capt Pandey is a board member. He is honorary officer bearer of number of NGOs both private and government backed including the Bihar Foundation. He spends his weekend undertaking social works.
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