‘Fishermen to be eyes and ears for coastal security’

Posted by on May 5th, 2010 and filed under Defence/Security. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) The union government plans to utilize fishermen as its eyes and ears for breach-proof coastal security of the country, the Lok Sabha was informed Wednesday.

Enumerating various steps being taken by the government to strengthen coastal security, Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran told the Lok Sabha that efforts are being made to ensure that measures taken for security of the coastal region do ‘not adversely effect our fishermen depending upon the sea for their livelihood’.

‘Rather, they take an active part in coastal security exercises and operations as the eyes and ears of the intelligence agencies,’ said Ramachandran, voicing the government’s expectations that fishermen will report back to security agencies any suspicious movement they see.

In his reply to a question on coastal security, the minister said the department of shipping has been mandated to register all type of vessels – both fishing and non-fishing – and ensure that they are equipped with various navigational and communications gadgets.

‘On the other hand, the department of fisheries is taking steps to issue identity cards to all fishermen, while the registrar general of India, as part of the creation of the National Population Register, is also conducting an exercise to issue ID cards to the entire population, including fishermen, residing in coastal villages,’ the minister said.

‘This initiative aims at creating a biometric data base for the population living in coastal areas and issuing ID cards to individuals 18 years and above,’ said the minister.

The minister also told the Rajya Sabha that the Coast Guard is executing a project of installing a chain of radars on light houses at 46 locations.

‘Out of these, 36 are in mainland, six in the Lakshadweep Islands and four in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Total estimated cost of the project is Rs.350 crore,’ the minister said.

He added that ‘radars will be placed along the Kerala coast in the initial stage. The sites identified for placing the radar sensors are Ponani, Kochi and Quilon’.

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