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First Coast Guard academy in Kannur

Staff Reporter

164 acres at Azheekkal handed over by State


Construction to begin soon

Coast Guard strength to be doubled


KOLLAM: Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said that the country's first Coast Guard academy will come up at Azheekkal in Kannur district.

Talking to presspersons here on Sunday, Mr. Antony said the State Industries Department on February 24 formally handed over 164 acres of land on lease for 90 years for the academy.

The academy will be commissioned at the earliest and its construction would begin soon.

Mr. Antony said the academy had become imperative as the Defence Ministry had taken the decision to double the strength of the Indian Coast Guard.

Till now, Coast Guard personnel were being trained at the Naval Academy at Ezhimala. But in the wake of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, the operational sector of the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard had been expanding at a fast rate. In addition to protecting the coastal areas, there was also the problem of sea pirates. As a result, the Navy and the Coast Guard were being forced to take up new responsibilities, he said.

The Navy was of the opinion that training its personnel itself was taxing the naval academy, Mr. Antony said.

Praise for Minister

To accommodate a Coast Guard academy, a vast expanse of land near the coast was required. The State government had not only responded positively when a proposal for land was placed, but also Industries Minister Elamaram Karim had gone out of the way to adopt a fast-track method to hand over the land at Azheekkal to the Coast Guard, Mr. Antony said.

He congratulated Mr. Karim and the State government.

Mr. Karim who was present said the land handed over to the Coast Guard was under the ownership of the public sector Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation.

Piracy

Replying to a question, Mr. Antony said in spite of the presence of naval fleets of several countries in the Gulf of Aden to thwart Somali pirates, the threat continued. This had led him to figure that the pirates, who were financially backward, did have strong backing. But at present, there was no evidence of who was behind them.

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