New regional headquarters in Kolkata assumes significance in a changing maritime scenario

The proposed bifurcation of the Coast Guard Region (East) which will create a new regional headquarters at Kolkata is expected to pave the way for more focussed operations along eastern coastline.

The move assumes significance in the changing maritime scenario and impetus on coastal security mechanism in the backdrop of 26/11 terror attacks. The Coast Guard presently has four regions, including the North-West Region and Andaman and Nicobar Region. The Eastern Region has jurisdiction over the entire coastline from Kolkata to Kanyakumari.

With the West Bengal government allotting five acres in Kolkata to establish the new regional headquarters, the proposed North-East region is likely to become operational by May this year.

Resources sharing

However, the sharing of resources will continue till such time it acquires the requisite manpower and infrastructure, defence sources said on Friday.

“While enabling optimum utilisation of the resources, the bifurcation will help in having a more focussed approach towards achieving our goals. Even after the division, we will have about 2,000-km long coastline spanning over Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry,” Inspector General and Commander Coast Guard Region (East) Satya Prakash Sharma said.

Dornier aircraft

He said that the Coast Guard was in the process of acquiring 12 Dornier aircraft from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., Bangalore. The aircraft would be equipped with modern communication/surveillance gadgets such as the electro-optical system, weather and observation radars.

Besides placing orders for some helicopters with the HAL, the force had also ordered for more than 150 ships, which were under construction in different shipyards. The induction of these facilities would strengthen the Coast Guard's capability in furthering its mandate of coastal security, maritime safety and environmental protection.

He said the State government had offered about 45 acres in Tuticorin for establishing a Coast Guard Air Station.

“Similarly the Union Territory of Puducherry has also offered 35 acres for the same purpose. We have constituted a board of officers to assess the feasibility and cost factors. A report will be sent to the Ministry of Defence in this regard.”