Special Correspondent

RAMANATHAPURAM: With a view to thwart attempts to use unmanned islands along the coast off Gulf of Mannar to smuggle explosive materials to Sri Lanka, the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park (GMMNP) has decided to post uniformed staff along with anti-poaching guards to man the islands.

Speaking to The Hindu on Tuesday, S. Shenbaga Moorthy, Wildlife Warden, GMMNP, said of the 21 islands in the Gulf of Mannar, six, including Kurusadai, Muyal, Nallathanni and Talaiyari, had been identified as “sensitive.”

Smugglers, in the recent past, have used these islands for storing as well as loading and offloading material. It was on one of these islands that the police and the Coast Guard seized a boat with a big consignment of batteries a few months ago.

Protection sheds

Each island would be manned by three persons round-the-clock. Besides monitoring the islands, they would intensify vigil against poachers of scheduled marine animals. Protection sheds would be built on all the islands. A shed had been set up at Nallathanni theevu at a cost of Rs.5.5 lakh. The uniformed staff would be given wireless sets, search lights and other equipment. Solar lights and stills would be installed on all islands for facilitating night stay.

Based on a proposal of the Additional Director General of Police, Coastal Security Group, joint patrolling would be conducted by GMMNP personnel and police personnel of CSG stations at Mandapam in Ramanathapuram district and Tharuvaikulam in Tuticorin district.