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Let fishermen guard Mumbai’s coastline, says chief of fishermen’s association

He advocated that lakhs of fishermen who are well versed with Maharashtra’s coastal region and are excellent swimmers be given an opportunity based on merit to become commandos

mumbai Updated: Nov 26, 2017 23:24 IST
Jayprakash S Naidu
Jayprakash S Naidu
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,26/11 terror attacks,Fishermine
Security tightened at Gateway Of India in Mumbai. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Nine years have passed since the 26/11 terror attacks, but the coastal security in Mumbai is still a total sham, said Damodar Tandel, chief of a fishermen association in the city.

Addressing a press conference at Badhwar Park, the spot where the 10 LeT terrorists had landed, Tandel, chief of Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti, said it can happen again and involvement of local fishermen to improve security was required.

“When RR Patil was the home minister, he had bought 53 high speed boats for coastal security. Almost all of them have turned into waste today. Another 25 boats were bought recently by the government but we do not see any of them in water. The government had announced construction of 25 coastal police stations but till date only four have been made at Kelwa, Gorai, Satpati and Mahim. Where are the rest?” questioned Tandel.

Tandel advocated that lakhs of fishermen who are well versed with Maharashtra’s coastal region and are excellent swimmers be given an opportunity based on merit to become commandos. “There are thousands of fishermen who can be chosen based on merit and be trained as commandoes. They are well versed with the coastal region and are good swimmers, which is always an advantage,” he said.

He also pointed at loopholes in the coupon system started by the government to keep a tab on the number of fishermen going into the sea for fishing.

“I do not understand why are they suspecting fishermen of being terrorists? Also, it is very easy to forge these coupons. The biometric system is perfect but needs to be implemented completely,” said Tandel.

On the other hand, there are also many Bangladeshi nationals who do not have proper documentation. There are several instances of fishermen taking these Bangladeshi nationals in deep sea for fishing as they provide cheap labour. He said that’s also a security threat.

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 23:24 IST