India's coastline on high alert

(December 30, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In an attempt to plug any possible threat through the sea route, the Union Government has sanctioned Rs 43.56 crore for operationalising eight coastal police stations along the 600 km long coastal belt in the state.

The state had submitted a proposal to the Union Government to set up coastal police stations along with eight other coastal states and four Union Territories for strengthening the coastal security.

Answering a query recently in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs Radhika Selvi said that the Home Ministry had signed an agreement with the Goa Shipyards Ltd and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd, Kolkata, for the supply of 194 interceptor boats including 24 boats for the state.

In addition, amount for new vessels, and vehicles including 16 new jeeps and 24 motorcycles have also been approved. Moreover, lump-sum assistance for eight police stations at Rs 10 lakh per station too has been approved.

These police stations would be located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Aleppey, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargaod coasts. The police stations would deal exclusively with marine affairs.

Though the initial idea of coastal police station was boosted up when a vessel allegedly being built for the LTTE was seized from Munambam near Kochi and reports about attempts to use the Kerala coast for smuggling arms and ammunition and drugs, the sea route adopted by the terrorists in Mumbai attacks had exposed the real threat.

Also, there were reports from the Navy that with the movement of the LTTE being restricted on the Tamil Nadu coast due to scrupulous watch by the Navy and the Coastguard, the LTTE has started shifting its operations to the Kerala coast.

The coast guard has its operations based on Kochi, but is insufficient to manage the full coastal length of the state.
- Sri Lanka Guardian