THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) planning to set up an Air Enclave near the Thiruvananthapuram Airport as part of efforts to increase its footprint in the state capital. The enclave is being planned on 1.82 acres just outside the airport for which talks are on with the state government, Coast Guard Commander (Western Region) S P S Basra said on Friday.
At the moment, the agency has a station at nearby Vizhinjam whose chief assets are two interceptor boats with medium-range armament. With coastal security emerging as a major issue in the post-Mumbai terror attacks scenario, the Coast Guard is also hoping to station two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft in Thiruvananthapuram in the near future. The plan is to station the aircraft at the old domestic terminal of the Thiruvananthapuram airport, Basra said.
At present, air support, when needed, has to come from Kochi where the Coast Guard has its regional headquarters.
Also in the pipeline are two projects through which the agency hopes to have more docking space for its vessels in Vizhinjam.
Already, talks are on with the state government for construction of additional berthing facilities for Coast Guard ships at the small, existing port at Vizhinjam. But the bigger dream is to have berths at the big seaport planned at Vizhinjam which will benefit both Coast Guard and the Indian Navy. The Defence Ministry is yet to wave through this proposal.