Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 16:
The state government today urged Center to release necessary funds to strengthen its coastal security apparatus along the Odisha coast to ward off possible terror strikes through sea route.
The Cabinet Secretary was reviewing the coastal security preparedness with the Chief Secretaries of nine coastal states including Odisha through video-conferencing. State Home Secretary and ADG Law and order were also part of the conference.
“Today we had a video conferencing meeting to review the phase-1 and 2 stages of coastal security plan. It takes place every six months and the Cabinet Secretary takes stock of the situation. We have briefed them about the challenges we are facing and our performance and achievements over the period,” said Law and order ADG Bijayananda Jha speaking to reporters at the state secretariat after the meeting.
“We have not received any boats in the second phase and managing with the boats we got in the first phase. The first phase boats have design flaws. Besides, we are waiting for the funds to be released to complete the construction of the 18 marine police stations,” he added.
The meeting also prominently discussed the coastal security preparedness of Odisha and ways to strengthen them further. The Home Secretary raked up issues faced by the state on the occasion and requested the Cabinet Secretary to release necessary funds and technical support to maintain the required level of alertness.
The attendees agreed upon to strengthen marine police stations of the state, increase intelligence sharing among the states and distribute identity proof to fishermen.
Notably, only 81 percent of the coastal fishermen have identity cards. As per the decision taken in the meeting, rest of the fishermen would be provided with identity cards by end of next month.
“All the coastal fishermen of Odisha will receive identity cards by end of November this year. A decision on this count was taken today in a high-level half-yearly review meeting chaired by the Union cabinet secretary,” an official said.