Coast Guard Academy: Centre's decision to drop the project unfortunate:CM

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 3 (PTI): The Centre's decision to drop plans to set up the Coast Guard academy at Azhikkal in Kannur district was 'unfortunate' and an 'injustice' to Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Tuesday.

Despite the state government handing over the required 164 acres of land and providing all backing, the union government's decision to drop the prestigious project shows its 'neglect' and 'injustice' to the state, Vijayan said in a statement here.

The Union minister of state for Defence had told the Rajya Sabha that the Forest and Environment ministry had not accorded clearance for the project, following which it was decided to shift it from the state.

Vijayan said he had himself brought the matter to the notice of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh earlier.

The notification of the 2011 Coast Guard regulations had been amended in July 2, 2018 by the central government and a notification had also been issued.

Environmental clearance for the Coast Guard academy and other similar facilities of national security can be given as per the new notification, Vijayan said, adding that the centre's present move was 'unfortunate'.

The Union cabinet had in 2009 decided to set up the Academy in Kannur and in early 2011, 164 acres was handed over by the state government.

In May 2011, then Defence minister A K Antony had laid the foundation stone for the project and so far Rs 65.65 crore has been spent by the Coast Guard, he said.

Vijayan said he had also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence minister Rajnath Singh for early completion of the project.

The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority had in 2015 itself recommended that environment clearance should be given for the project.

'After all this in the name of environment clearance, denying the project to Kerala cannot be justified,' the Chief Minister said and urged the centre to re-examine its decision and give clearance to the project on the basis of the 2018 coastal regulations amendment.

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareen on Monday, minister of state for defence Shripad Naik said the MoEF denied clearance as the proposed project site falls under CRZ-I (A), where no constructions are allowed.

Union minister V Muraleedharan had blamed the state,saying it had failed to identify alternative land for the project.

Vijayan had last year written to Modi against the move to shift the proposed Academy to Mangaluru in Karnataka and said such an 'unjustified move', which was against Kerala's interest, should be dropped.

Pointing out that Irinive in Kannur district was a rich storehouse of mangrove cultivation, the Union Environment and Forest ministry had declined permission for construction activities. PTI UD APR APR APR