Tight security along coast off Rameswaram

Tight vigil: A naval ship patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line.

Tight vigil: A naval ship patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line.  

Special Correspondent

In view of President Pratibha Patil’s visit on December 28

RAMANATHAPURAM: Security along the coast off Rameswaram has been tightened in view of the maiden visit of President Pratibha Patil to Rameswaram on December 28.

She is expected to spend around 6 hours in the district and visit Sri Ramanathasamy Temple at Rameswaram.

Considering the town’s proximity to Sri Lanka, the Navy and the Coast Guard have activated all defence assets situated along the south eastern coast. Besides the existing patrol arrangement, additional ships including helicopter carriers have been deployed along the Palk Bay, the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar. Similarly, a host of interceptor craft, hovercraft have also been put in place.

Collector R. Kirlosh Kumar, who presided over a meeting convened here on Monday, told that the Navy and the Coast Guard have made elaborate security arrangements along the Palk Bay and the Palk Strait in view of the President visit. Patrolling exercise had already been started. As part of the air surveillance over the seas, it had been decided to increase the sorties by the coastal security agencies. Close vigil would be maintained along the International Maritime Boundary Line.

He said tight security would be in place on NH 49 from Uchipuli, where the President would land and go to Rameswaram temple. Security men would be posted at important vital installations including the Pamban railway bridge.

Superintendent of Police K.A. Senthil Velan said that new measures had been taken to monitor the arrival of Sri Lankan refugees. Fishing vessels would be checked as a precautionary measure. Refugees at Mandapam would be closely monitored. Though the camp would not be sealed, a few restrictions would be placed.

He said besides Armed Reserve battalions and the strength of district police, 700 policemen drawn from other districts of the State would be deployed. Seven Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) from different parts of the State had been called for duty.

Mr. Velan said the police had already taken control of Sri Ramanathasamy Temple. Pilgrims would be restricted to enter the temple for a few hours on Sunday. Lodge and hotel administrators were asked to furnish the details of those staying at Rameswaram and Ramanathapuram.

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