In the wake of the December 31 Coast Guard (CG) operations, top officials from the CG western region met Maharashtra Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya on Monday to discuss issues concerning coastal security, The Hindu has learnt.
“The prime focus of the meeting was to apprise the incumbent government of the various issues pertaining to coastal security. We have been receiving inputs on a regular basis from the central security agencies on the vulnerability of the coast from both terrorists and smugglers,” a senior official told The Hindu on condition of anonymity.
In the meeting the CG once again flagged the possible threat posed by fishing trawlers. The CG had raised the issue with the erstwhile government and had even complained of lacklustre response from the Fisheries Department.
The official said: “Most of the time, the tandels [in charge of the fishing boats] carry photocopy of their documents as they fear that the original might get spoiled in the waters but for security reasons they are required to carry the originals. At certain instances we found that photo copies of a registered vessel were used for several boats.”
He claimed that the tandels mostly hire Bangladeshi or Nepalese nationals as labourers and their identities are not ascertained.
These labourers pose a security threat. While over 2000 identity cards have been issued by the department in the past few years, fishing has increased over four times in the past five years.