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Centre to set up coastal command, says Chidambaram

February 09, 2009 15:34 IST

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The Centre has decided to set up a Coastal Command by integrating the functions of the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard, to combat possible terrorist attacks from the sea, in light of the recent Mumbai terror attacks [Images], Union Home Minister P Chidambaram [Images] said at Kollam, Kerala [Images] on Monday.

The navy would look after the security of the blue waters, the coast guard would take the territorial waters and the coastal police would keep vigil at the grass-root level, Chidambaram said, while inaugurating Kerala's first coastal police station at Neendakara near Kollam.

The decision on setting up the Coastal Command would be taken in a few days, he said.

The Mumbai terror attacks had brought to light the fact that India was vulnerable to dangers from the sea. For long, the security agencies had been concentrating on land borders. To counter the sea threat and ensure integrated security, the Centre had ambitious plans and the Coastal Command was part of it, Chidambaram said.

The places identified to set up coastal police stations are Vizhinjam, Fort Kochi, Thottapally, Azheekkal, Beypore, Kodungallur and Bakel, covering the long stretch of the Kerala's coastline.

ID cards for coastal villagers

Chidambaram also said that the Centre will issue multi-purpose Identity cards to people residing in the coastal areas of the nine coastal states and four Union Territories.

The process for issuing the identity cards would be completed on a war-footing in 2009, while the census in the rest of the country would be taken up in 2011 as scheduled, he said.

Since the co-operation of local people, especially fishermen, was essential in tackling terror threat from the sea, coastal vigilance committees would be formed in all the coastal villages of the country, Chidambaram added.

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