The first set of 25,000 biometric identity cards for Mumbai fishermen is ready and is likely to be distributed to fishermen in September, once the fishing season begins.
The state fisheries department officials said that they would also provide card readers to the Coast Guard and the Mumbai police, to ensure no mistakes made during the failed smart card project are repeated.
Confirming the development, Avinash Nakwa, assistant commissioner, fisheries department (Mumbai) said: "The biometric identity card project was initiated by the Central government for all coastal cities in the country post 26/11. The card is an electronic identity of individual fishermen." He said that the cards would be distributed once the fishing season begins, in September.
"Compared to smart cards, the biometric card will also have the finger print of the person. Other information such as his place of residence, and the association to which he belongs will be stored on a chip affixed to the card," he added.
Earlier, the state was supposed to issue smart cards to fishermen, which were to be used as identity cards. However, the project failed.
"Authorities provided smart cards to only 40% of the total fishermen. Though they were distributed, card readers were not provided. Hence, the cards were rendered useless and the security forces had no means to crosscheck the authenticity of the card holder," said Damodar Tandel, head of the Mumbai Fishermen Association.
"We hope that the biometric cards project doesn't get experience any technical glitches," he added.