THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Centre has dropped plans to set up a Coast Guard Academy in Kannur. The decision has kicked up a political row after Union minister of state V Muraleedharan put the blame on the state government. The Defence ministry dropped the project to set up its training facility at Azheekkal after the Union environment ministry denied clearance for the project. In a written reply to Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareen on Monday, Union 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.
The proposed project in a 164-acre area at Azheekal is located close to the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala. The project received the Centre’s nod in 2009 and later land was acquired from Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation. However, the proposal hit a roadblock with the new CRZ rules.
Following reports about the move to shift the project from Kannur to another location near Mangaluru, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January, drawing his attention to the issue. The government pointed out that land has been identified as foundation stone was also laid in 2011. It was pointed out that the presence of INA and the Kannur airport are added advantage for the project.
Union minister V Muraleedharan accused the state government for its lackadaisical approach in the matter. Responding to media queries in New Delhi, he said the state government failed to identify alternative land for the project. The state government has been sitting on the Centre’s demand to identify an alternative land for the project, he said adding that then Union Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman had also spoken with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in this regard. Yet the state government failed to take the necessary steps, he alleged.