Jacob Punnoose, Director General of Police, has outlined a multi-pronged strategy, centered around ensuring the loyalty of the coastal population, for securing the long coast line of the State.

Speaking at the valedictory session of the two day national conference on ‘Coastal Security: Needed a New Look’ organised by the KPS Menon Chair under the aegis of School of International Relations and Politics at Mahatma Gandhi University here on Wednesday, Mr Punnoose said coastal security can never be effectively achieved unless the nation has the loyalty of the coastal population. Under the Indian conditions, the poorest fraction of the population throng the coastal belt, he said and pointed out that unless their social and economic deficiencies were effectively addresses, no coastal security architecture would be effective.

Presently, the coastal population is marked by high density of population, economic insecurity, unemployment and social inequality and as such are easy prey to victimization by persons and interest

groups who function with ulterior motives. ‘The very fact that communal riots have the highest frequency in coastal areas is a pointer to the existing situation. Vulnerability of the coastal population to such anti social and anti national elements and interests was the greatest hazard to set an effective coastal security edifice, he said.

“It was with this in mind that the State put in place Coastal Jagrahta Samities immediately after the 26/11 attack on Mumbai”, he said.

The second important component of the strategy should be evolution of a mechanism for vessel identification. The Kerala coast has over 25,000 mechanised boats, unidentified number of country boats and these boats can start from any point on the coast and land at any point, he said. The state also has an extensive inland waterway system making any one to reach any interior spots once he or she reaches the

coastal region.

To overcome the lack of order in coastal belt the State have to introduce new system where boats could be launched and landed only on specified spots, he said. With a 600 mile coast line we can have 500 or 600 such boat landing areas so that they could be watched and monitored. Any boat that land on unspecified are could become immediate suspect. He also wanted to make use of affordable state of the art technology for implementing boat identification mechanism.

However, the key element would be providing maritime capability for the police so that patrolling could be strengthened he said, but pointed out that the major constraint on effective patrolling would be the huge financial burden the operations would bring in. The Central government would have to extend financial support to the State for the purpose, he added.

Pro vice - chancellor Rajan Varghese chaired the valedictory session. Raju A Thadikkaran, C Vinodan and others spoke.