Coast Guard of Bengal, Odisha decide joint patrol

Kendrapara: The Coast Guard of Paradip authority has decided to carry out joint sea patrol with their counterpart in West Bengal to contain Bangladeshi infiltrators.

The Coast Guard units in Paradip and Haldia would act in cohesion keeping in view the lurking threat. Security agencies were perturbed over the spurt in piracy and unlawful sea-route activity, Coast Guard sources said.

For the first time, West Bengal and Odisha organized a two-day long joint coastal security exercise recently to boost security in the eastern region.

Coast Guard Director General M P Muralidhar, who was here on a two-day visit to Odisha, reviewed the coastal security mechanism to meet future maritime challenges. "The Coast Guard DG reviewed security set-up and sought better coordination with state agencies like marine police, fisheries, forest and sea fishermen. Rescue mission of distressed vessels and crew also came under discussion," K P S Raghuvamshi, Deputy Inspector General, Paradip Coast Guard said.

The arrest of Bangladeshi fishermen on October 22 last following interception of a fishing vessel off Balasore coast and killing of three fishermen on January 29 by Bangladeshi pirates near Sundarban region had exposed loopholes in the security mechanism, coast guard sources said.

While a series of measures were put in place to bolster coastal security in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike, refurbished security set up was in evidence in southern and westerns coasts while eastern coast did not stay in the list of priorities, the sources said.

Coast Guard is intent on setting up infrastructure projects such as Air Enclave (aircraft station) in Bhubaneswar, helipad at Paradip and another Coast Guard base at Gopalpur, coast guard sources said.

The projects like helipad, warehouse and radar observation centre in Paradip had already been approved with accordance of financial sanction by the union government under coastal security plan.

Once the state government handed over the required land, the projects would get a kick-start in Paradip. The land required for establishment of CG units at the state capital and at Gopalpur had already been acquired. The coast guard had also applied for the land at Dhamra in Bhadrak district, the sources said.