by Mannan Kumar
November 28,2016 | Source: DNA
One of the key elements to check another strike — equipping about 2 lakh fishing boats with Automatic Information System- Proprietary (AIS-P) transponders — is yet to be done. The proposal was cleared at a meeting of coastal states with the Union Home Ministry in June, 2016.
The decision was driven by the fact that with fishing becoming a non-viable activity near the coastline because of pollution and ship traffic, even smaller boats are being forced to go into the high seas.
“The fishermen are like eyes and ears on the sea for country’s security. But we are yet to receive transponders for small boats. It is must for us as our small boats are forced to go beyond the mandatory 12 nautical miles into the high seas to catch fish across the Maharashtra coastline.
We must get it for free,” says Narendra R Patil, General Secretary, Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samitee (MMKS). Each transponder costs about Rs 17,000 and the cost of about Rs 336 crore for installing two lakh transponders in small boats will be borne by the Union Home Ministry.
Until recently, only dhows or vessels bigger than 20 metres in length were fitted with transponders, leaving out a vast majority of sea boats that according to an Intelligence Bureau report can be used by terrorists again.
© 2016 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.