Coastal surveillance off Karnataka coast is all set to go seamless once the radar stations at Kundapur in Udupi and Belekeri in Uttara Kannada district go online. At present, entire 320-km long coastline of Karnataka is under surveillance with help of radar stations at Surathkal and Bhatkal and is acting as eyes of maritime and law enforcement agencies, noted DIG Surendra Singh Dasila, commander, Coast Guard, Karnataka. Interacting with media on eve of 43rd Coast Guard Raising Day scheduled for February 1, Dasila said while state government has given land for setting up radar station at Belekeri, work of setting up station at Kundapur will be taken up a the light house there in conjunction with Directorate General of Lighthouses and Light Ships.
“Some of the 26-odd radar stations including the one at Surathkal too are housed atop the light house,” Dasila said. Noting that the challenges for Coast Guard District Headquarters 3 in charge of Karnataka based at Panambur in its given area of responsibility are diverse, he said this ranges from safeguarding nation’s maritime interest to protection of life and property at sea to preserving marine environment. “We are doing this diligently with aid of various sea, land and air based assets placed at the command of the district headquarters 3,” Dasila said.
With an offshore patrol vessel (OPV), four fast patrol vessels, two interceptor boats, interceptor crafts and air cushion vehicle aka hovercraft each at its disposal, he said district HQ is poised for force augmentation with proposed addition of one more OPV during the current calendar area. This is addition to the air enclave activated at old airport in Bajpe with Dorniers from Daman and Kochi making regular sorties for surveillance. On the proposed hover port for the district HQ, Dasila said this facility vital for maintenance and operation of the air cushion vehicles could become operational in the next two-years.
“We have been allotted 15-acres of land at Bengre for this purpose,” Dasila said, adding safe harbouring spots have been created both seaward side and along the Gurupur. The hover port will have capacity to house two more ACVs as and when need for it arises, he said. The DHQ 3 assets have enhanced safety and security of the state, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief during natural and manmade disaster, he said. Efforts of Coast Guard in Karnataka during cyclone Ochki resulted in saving 202 human lives in 2017. This maritime force saved 209 lives in 2018 and has already saved 19 lives as on date in the current year. The force was officially raised on February 1, 1977, Dasila added.