Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Coastal security scheme comes under scanner

THOOHUKUDI: As the number of vessels intruding into Indian waters increases, people living in the coastal region are a worried lot and questions are being raised regarding the credibility of the much acclaimed Coastal Security Scheme (CSS).

The public contended that the scheme had failed as number of Lankan boats straying into Indian waters had increased and this time they had failed to check the intrusion of a Singapore vessel off the Koodangulam coast.

The CSS is said to be a three-fold security blanket scheme wherein the Indian coasts are guarded by the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Coastal Security Group. Now questions are being raised as to how the  three-tier security was breached in all these incidents.

In August 2009, the Indian Coast Guard apprehended three Sri Lankan fishing boats. In October, one fishing boat was detained and the total number of Sri Lankan fishermen who were arrested was 31. Early this month, the stranded Singapore vessel off Koodangulam was brought to the coast guard station at Thoothukudi.

However, in all these incidents the intrusion is said to have happened due to bad weather. Though the coast guard ships are equipped with radar and hi-tech GPS systems, these systems failed to track the stranded ship off Koodangulam for two days.

Now, the Tamil Nadu police and the Indian Coast Guard are blaming each other for the porous security. According to sources, the Indian Coast Guard has to take responsibility. 

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