The director-general of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) visited the North East region headquarters in Kolkata and reviewed the infrastructure projects taken up in the state while he is also scheduled to commission a squadron of advanced light helicopters (ALH) MK III that will seek to bolster the surveillance capacity of the maritime security force.
The ICG spokesperson today said that Director General Virender Singh Pathania is on his maiden visit to ICG Region (NE) from 7 to 11 April to review the operational readiness and status of ongoing infrastructure development projects in the states of West Bengal and Odisha.
During his today’s visit to Kolkata HQ, he was presented with an overview of ICG operations. In his address, he apprised the ICG officers of policy reviews, upcoming development in terms of infrastructure, augmentation of fleet, and international cooperation initiatives. He also met governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and briefed him on various operational facets and the recent string of achievements by ICG, especially in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, to augment the Coast Guard’s air arm in the region, he will commission a squadron of ALH MK III choppers that are based in Bhubaneswar due to lack of space in Kolkata, said an ICG official, pointing out that the Kolkata airport already houses its Dornier aircraft. The ALH is an indigenously manufactured twinengine helicopter, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics, under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
At present, there are four such ALHs based at Bhubaneswar while out of the five Dornier aircraft, three are based at Kolkata airport. An ICG official said that the commissioning of the ALH squadron will be a force multiplier to address the multi-faceted maritime challenges in West Bengal and Odisha.
The move by the ICG is in the light of strengthening its patrolling operations along the country’s coastline since the force is responsible for coastal security that includes enforcing the country’s maritime law with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India including its contiguous zone and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). These choppers will help in patrolling the North Bay of Bengal region.
Earlier, for sustained efficacy of maritime operations in AoR of ICG (North-East Region), the force had commissioned and based one offshore patrol vessel at Paradip and one fast patrol vessel at Haldia.