TAMIL NADU

One more Coast Guard station planned in State

C. Jaishankar

RAMANATHAPURAM: In an effort to enhance the security of the region and prevent illegal intrusion from Sri Lanka, the Coast Guard plans to establish one more full-fledged station on the east coast of Tamil Nadu.

Speaking exclusively to The Hindu on Monday, Inspector General Rajendra Singh, Commander, Coast Guard, eastern region, said three places including Nagapattinam were being evaluated. Talks were on with the State Government, which had promised to consider the proposal.

Mr. Singh said the new installation would have all facilities for operating bigger ships, interceptor craft and others. A communication centre would form part of the station.

Augmentation plan

As for safeguarding the coast in the background of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s air, sea and ground capabilities, Mr. Singh said the proposed station was part of the Coast Guard’s augmentation plan to tackle the new situation.

“We are of the view that both parties [the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE] should solve the ethnic problem amicably through negotiation. However, we cannot impose our intention. We will take all sorts of action to safeguard our area,” he said.

The Inspector General said a special unit would be set up to create a docking facility for hovercraft at Mandapam. This would be established on five acres. The process had been initiated.

Security tightened

Mr. Singh, who visited various remote points along the International Maritime Boundary Line and some islands of the Gulf of Mannar with Commandant K. Janardhanan, Commanding Officer, Mandapam Station, said security had been stepped up on the entire coast of the Palk Strait, Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar.

Three ships were patrolling the Gulf of Mannar, besides two hovercraft and a number of smaller vessels in the nearby areas. The Coast Guard Station at Tuticorin had been allocated one more ship.

Mr. Singh said Coast Guard had placed orders for five Inshore Patrol Vessels with the Hindustan Shipyard Limited. Their construction had started. Orders had also been placed for three Offshore Patrol Vessels with the Goa Shipyard Limited.

Contract for 16 more IPVs was expected to conclude soon.

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