Nearly eight years after the Mumbai terror attacks, the government is all set to install tracking devices and issue identity cards to small fishing vessels free of cost to monitor their movement and curb security threat along the coastline.
The Home Ministry is planning to install transponders in fishing vessels below 20 metres in length and also issue identity cards for the purpose of tracking their movement up to a distance of 50-km from the coastline.
The Ministry has estimated the cost of each transponder at about Rs. 16,800 and the total cost would be around Rs. 336 crore for installing transponders in two lakh small boats.
The proposal will be placed before the meeting of Chief Ministers of all coastal states to be held in Mumbai on June 16.
According to the proposal, the Home Ministry will bear the entire expenditure on transponders while the project will be implemented by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries under the Agriculture Ministry.
Technical assistance would be given by the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL) under the Shipping Ministry.
All boats will be issued identity cards and colour coding of fishing vessels will also been done.
At present, there is a system in place for tracking vessels above 20-metre in length, but there is no such facility for boats below that length.
The Home Ministry has proposed to install AIS (P) transponders in small boats based on the recommendations of the expert committee set up by the Defence Ministry on this issue.
According to officials sources, the expert panel has suggested installation of Automatic Information System- Proprietary (AIS-P) transponder for tracking small boats after evaluating three types of devices that were tested on a pilot basis by both DGLL and Indian Coast Guard.
As per the proposal, installation of AIS(P) transponders will be made “mandatory” and linked with issuance of licence for fishing granted under the State Marine Fisheries Departments.
India has 7,517-km coastline, which is dotted with 12 major ports and 187 minor or intermediate ports.
Mumbai was the target of Indias worst terror attack in 2008. Ten terrorists had come from Pakistan through the sea route, killing 166 people.