Coast Guard drops plan to set up academy in Kerala

The decision to do away with the academy in Kerala comes more than eight years after its foundation stone was laid by then Defence Minister A K Antony – also a former Kerala Chief Minister – in May 2011. Photo/Twitter (@IndiaCoastGuard)

The Indian Coast Guard has dropped a plan to set up its own training academy on the Kerala coast as the force was unable to secure approval for the site from the Union Environment Ministry.

The green ministry denied the grant of Environment and Coastal Regulation Zone clearances for the setting-up of the Indian Coast Guard Academy at Azhikkal, Kerala, as the project site falls in a CRZ-1(A) area where no construction is permissible.

“Since the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has denied the clearances as per the CRZ notification, the project of Indian Coast Guard to establish Indian Coast Guard Academy at Azhikkal, Kerala has been dropped,” the Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik Monday said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareem.

The decision to do away with the academy in Kerala comes more than eight years after its foundation stone was laid by then Defence Minister A K Antony – also a former Kerala Chief Minister – in May 2011.

The 164-acre proposed campus of the ICGA near Valapattanam estuary at Azhikkal in Kannur district of northern Kerala is located about 20 km south of Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala. As per the plans, the two maritime academies were expected to share some training and infrastructure in the Kerala backwaters.

The ICGA received government approval in 2009 and the land was acquired from Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation.

But the project hit a hurdle with the new CRZ rules that bars constructions in sensitive areas near the coast. The site falls in the CRZ-1A area that is environmentally most critical.

While the Defence Ministry made a preliminary survey with an alternate site near Mangalore, there is no decision so far.

Traditionally the coast guard personnel were trained at the naval academy. But in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the government decided to significantly increase the coast guard force level, their infrastructure and assets, necessitating a dedicated academy for the cadets who would guard the 7,500 km long Indian coast.

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