CISF plays killjoy as it has to keep structure sanitised to reassure passing ships

The picturesque view from the breakwater on Panambur beach lured Sandhya and her teenage daughter to take the rocky walk into the sea. But the mother-daughter duo’s short adventure was cut short by a CISF guard, who shooed them away. For them, the guard was a killjoy. “I can’t see why they don’t allow us to go there,” says a disappointed Sandhya.

For the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), guarding the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT), people like Sandhya — who frequent Panambur beach — have become routine distraction. The breakwater structure attracts many, but it is a strict no-go area.

CISF personnel keep telling people to stay away from the breakwater. They gesticulate people walking on the breakwater from a ship on the port side. If that does not deter the visitors, they go in person to tell people to step back. And the routine goes on.

T.S.N. Murthy, Chairman, NMPT, said, “For the port, it is a nuisance. They should not walk on the breakwater.” He said people have ended with broken limbs walking on the rocks yet they go there the moment the CISF personnel turn their back, especially during change of shifts. He said, “It is a public problem, it is serious.”

The larger reason is the port has to abide by International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and keep the breakwater free of people. The moment a vessel’s captain sees a person it, he flashes an alert to international trade that Mangalore port is unsafe for navigation because he does not know who the persons are.

A fish market, too

Mr. Murthy said the port has tried putting warning boards, enclosing the rocks in anti-rust mesh and putting barbed wire but all these have been vandalised. Another problem is that fishermen continue to bring their boats and tie them to the rocks of the breakwaters. Between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., there is a small fish market thriving next to it. He said, “In good faith, we allow them to do.”

He said, “One visitor said he would not have gone near the rocks if there was a warning board on the beach near to the structure.”

At the entrance of the beach, there is a warning to visitors saying trespassers will be prosecuted. But that looks like it applies to the office of the Coast Guard and not to the breakwater, which is much further away. CISF authorities did not respond to calls made.

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