On an all-round expansion drive, the Indian Coast Guard is on the lookout for land with waterfront in Kerala to set up a full-fledged training facility for its officers and other ranks, besides the marine police.
The force is keen to set up air enclaves in Thiruvananthapuram and Lakshadweep.
Also in the offing is commissioning, in two phases, of a network of over 15 static radars along the Kerala and the Lakshadweep coasts for seamless round-the-clock surveillance.
“Positive dialogue is under way with the Kerala government for acquisition of land for these projects and for creation of more berthing facilities and jetties to complement our ongoing asset augmentation,” B.K. Loshali, Deputy Inspector-General of Coast Guard District Headquarters-4 (DHQ-4), which has jurisdiction over Kerala, Lakshadweep and Mahe, told The Hindu. “About a week ago, with active support from the State government, we carried out site survey at Beypore to identify land for the proposed training centre. DHQ-4 being the training headquarters of the Coast Guard, this is a key project for us. We have so far trained 100 police personnel of Lakshadweep, besides 450 Kerala police personnel,” Mr. Loshali said.
An exclusive air enclave in Thiruvananthapuram is high on the force’s priority. “Most of the coastal security establishments are Kochi-based. So we would like to have an air enclave dedicated to Coast Guard in Thiruvananthapuram,” he said. The force has already carried out survey of the 11-acre land offered by the Lakshadweep administration for an air enclave there. “The Director-General of Civil Aviation was earlier pursuing a similar project there. We will now go through the spot survey report prepared by them,” Mr. Loshali said.
Foundation for a Coast Guard air enclave adjoining the Nedumbassery airport was laid by Defence Minister A.K. Antony in January.
“The State has been proactive in giving us berthing facility at Beypore and Vizhinjam. The Lakshadweep administration has also been kind enough to hand over some 3.7 acres of land at Androth and 7.8 acres of land at Minicoy for setting up Coast Guard stations,” he said.