60-70 percent fishermen given biometric id-cards: Navy chief

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan on Thursday said steps are being taken to ensure safe coastal boundaries, and the work for providing biometric identification cards to fishermen is nearly 60-70 percent complete.

Asked about progress in strengthening coastal security after the Mumbai terror attack, the navy chief, in an interaction on the eve of the Navy Day, said: “Post 2008, navy and other agencies made a coastal security plan and today we have established 87 automatic identification stations and 46 coastal radar stations.”

“But this is a very serious challenge because there can be no boundary on sea.”

Referring to the post-Mumbai attack decision to provide biometric identity cards to fishermen, he said: “Around 60-70 percent work is over. In some states, up to 80 percent fishermen have been given identity cards.”

In the November 26, 2008, attack on India’s financial capital when 166 Indians and foreigners were massacred, the 10 Pakistani terrorists had hijacked Indian fishing boats to enter Mumbai.

Admiral Dhowan said that the navy went to coastal villages and reached out to the fishermen to make them the “eyes and ears” for the armed force.

“Coastal mapping has also been done… under this, fishermen and the coastal community have been trained to become our eyes and ears and are part of the surveillance chain. UAVs and helicopters are used to keep an eye on coastal areas,” he added.

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