Mangaluru, Mar 22, 2018: In spite of appeals by Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan the move to shift the proposed Indian Coast Guard Academy (ICGA) from Kannur to Mangaluru, is seen by the Union defense ministry to have decided in favour of Karnataka.
A visit by Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, accompanied by Indian Coast Guard director-general Rajendra Singh to the proposed site in December 2017, was the first indication that the academy would end up in Karnataka.
Following this move, Pinarayi Vijayan in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January, said the move was unjustified, and went against the interests of Kerala. The letter said the Kerala government had transferred 164 acres for the ICGA near Valapattanam estuary on the Arabian Sea in Irinavu near Azhikkal in Kannur. It is located about 8 miles south of INA, Ezhimala, and two maritime academies were expected to share some training infrastructure in the Kerala backwaters.
The then defence minister A K Antony had laid the foundation stone for the ICGA at Irinavu on May 28, 2011. Vijayan, in his reply to a submission by local MLA T V Rajesh, had stated in the Kerala assembly on March 6, that the government had written a letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to abandon the move. Irinavu had been selected because of its unique geographical and coastal features, and its proximity to the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala, Rajesh had said.
Confirming that the ICGA will indeed be set up in Karnataka, minister U T Khader said a high power clearance committee of the government has approved 160 acres at Baikampady, for the Indian Coast Guard to set up the ICGA in December last year, which the cabinet recently cleared. The academy will be set up at a cost of Rs 1,010 crore, an official note stated. DIG S S Dasila, commander, Coast Guard, Karnataka, had been actively following up the proposal with the state government.
Earlier, ICG personnel were trained at the Indian Naval Academy. Following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Union government initiated a programme to triple the ICG force, assets and infrastructure. Both the Indian Navy and government recognized that the increased intake of ICG cadets will further tax the already-stretched INA facilities. This provided an added impetus for the Union council of ministers to approve the establishment of the ICGA.