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Centre takes steps to secure Indian coastline

Source: PTI
February 19, 2009 12:26 IST
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In a bid to prevent the use of the sea route by terrorists as in case of the Mumbai strikes, the Coast Guard has been asked to patrol the shoreline with locally hired fishing boats or trawlers.

Coastal states have also been told by the government to speed up implementation of the Coastal Security Scheme.

"The coastal states and Union Territories have been directed to immediately start coastal patrolling by locally hired fishing boats or trawlers, charges for which will be reimbursable by the Ministry of Home Affairs," Minister of State for Home Affairs Radhika V Selvi said in New Delhi.

"The task of guarding the Indian coastline has been entrusted to the Coast Guard. However, the responsibility of overall maritime security rests with the Indian Navy," she said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Coastal States/UTs have also been directed to expedite the implementation of the approved Coastal Security Scheme such as the early completion of construction of coastal police stations, check posts, out-posts and barracks apart from sanctioning, recruitment and training of executive and technical manpower, the minister said.

"The coastal States/UTs have been directed to carry out vulnerability/gap analysis on their coasts in consultation with the Coast Guard and furnish their additional requirements for the formulation of a comprehensive proposal for further approval of the government," Selvi said.

Several meetings were held in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Ministry of Agriculture to review, upgrade and strengthen the coastal security of the country, she said.

According to the minister, Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways has been directed to streamline the process of registration of fishing as well as non-fishing vessels, and also to ensure fitting/provision of navigational and communication equipments on these boats.

Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairies & Fisheries is taking steps to issue identity cards to all the fishermen. The Registrar General of India is also issuing ID cards under the Multi-purpose National Identity Card Scheme to all the population in the coastal villages including fishermen, Selvi added.

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