Mangaluru, May 18, 2017: In-principle approval is granted for the diversion of 6.07 hectares of deemed forest land in Bengre for a hoverport of the Indian Coast Guard by the Regional Empowered Committee of the Regional Office, South Zone, Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The committee said in the interest of national security this is done, while asking the authorities to ensure that “bare minimum” trees are felled for the project. The Indian Coast Guard, Mangaluru Regional Office, has proposed to come up with the hoverport at Bengre, near Tannirbhavi Beach, for basing hovercraft patrolling along the 320-km long Karnataka coastline.
The committee also found there was no violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act. The Karnataka State Coastal Zone Management Authority has granted coastal regulatory zone clearance for the project. It also noted that setting up of a hovercraft base port in Bengre was necessary in the interest of national security. The proposed area was strategically located on the west coast and helps the Indian Coast Guard to quickly respond during exigencies in the sea.
With diversified coastline and presence of international ships in the region, the Coast Guard has stepped up its vigil in the area. Among those deployed for surveillance include two hovercraft which are already in action. More hovercraft are expected to be deployed. Following proposal by the Indian Coast Guard for land for hovercraft base port, the Dakshina Kannada district administration granted 6.07 hectares of forest land in 2015. The Coast Guard applied for clearance of the Regional Empowered Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests for use of the deemed forest land for hoverport construction.
In meeting of the Regional Empowered Committee held on May 5, the committee found that the proposed area has Casuarina plantation, which was raised by the Forest Department. The proposed area does not form part of any wildlife sanctuary, national park, biosphere reserve, tiger reserve, and elephant corridor, the committee observed.