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Marine Enforcement Wing comprising State Police Officials will be set up shortly in Tamil Nadu to keep a check on Erring fishermen in Bay of Bengal

Tamil Nadu state will have an Exclusive Marine Enforcement Wing to enforce fishing regulations in the light of complaints by Sri Lanka that the state fishermen were resorting to destructive fishing and use banned nets.

The issue has been the bone of contention between Indian fishermen and the Sri Lankan navy for the past several years. Sri Lankan navy and coastguard have killed several Indian fishermen, arrested many of them and impounded hundreds of Indian fishing boats.

The Indian fishermen have complained that the Sri Lankan Navy have prevented them from fishing in traditional fishing grounds near Katchativu islands which was handed over to Sri Lanka way back in 1974 under a bilateral agreement with the island nation.

Police personnel patrol Bay of Bengal to enforce fishing regulations

It is in this context the Tamil Nadu government is setting up an Exclusive Marine Enforcement Wing with over one hundred police personnel patrolling the Bay of Bengal in a bid to enforce fishing regulations and take steps to prevent the use of banned nets

The wing, to be headed by a Superintendent of Police

Personnel for the wing, to be headed by a Superintendent of Police, will be drawn from the State Police Department and will render support to officers of the Fisheries Department in enforcing the Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1983, along the State’s coastline.

Based on a request from the Director of Fisheries, the State government has accorded administrative and financial sanction for setting up the force. It has also sanctioned Rs Seven Crores per year towards payment of salary of the personnel.

A budget provision will be made for purchasing four-wheelers and hiring patrol boats. Arms for the wing will be loaned by the Police Department.

Part of the wing’s duties to conduct search and rescue operation when required

Keeping the long-standing demand of the fisher folk in mind, part of the wing’s duties will be to coordinate and conduct search and rescue operations as and when required. The wing will collect intelligence pertaining to violations from fishing villages/communities.

Besides developing cordial relations with the local fishing community, the constables will keep a watch on the movement of unidentified boats/strangers in their jurisdiction.

The security of Sensitive harbors like those in Chennai, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Rameswaram, Thoothukudi, Chinnamuttom and Colachel will be under the jurisdiction of high police officials

Many other States have such separate wings under the Fisheries Department. “Increasingly, we are facing many issues, especially those related to law and order in fishing hamlets, and it is turning out to be a burden on the Police Department. This calls for the formation of an exclusive wing, according to sources

 The wing will protect the rights of traditional fishermen: Fisheries Minister

Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said the wing will protect the rights of traditional fishermen. “It will be under the control of the director of fisheries. We have requested the Director General of Police to depute personnel at the earliest. We expect that the Marine force will be raised shortly he said.

 

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