37 Per Cent of India’s Minor Ports Defenceless

A Parliamentary committee has expressed its “shock” over a special report prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) which found that about 37 per cent of minor ports in the country are absolutely defenceless. A report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs (Coastal Security), tabled recently has said the IB report should serve as an “alarm bell” for the government, especially at those ports which are located along the coastline of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The report noted that there are 203 non-major or minor ports, of which 45 are non-operational and 75 have no security force whatsoever. A number of the non-operational ports, 49 of them non-major ports, however were being used as landing points and jetties by fishermen.

The IB report had said that out of the 49 of the non-major ports in question, 30 were in Gujarat and Maharashtra alone, with the rest spread out across the other coastal regions in the country. The report also noted that there were “several shortcomings” in the security arrangements at these ports, like the absence of x-ray scanners and non-maintenance of records of incoming or outgoing communications among others.

The Parliamentary Panel has recommended that the coastal states and Union Territories implement suggestions made by the IB to plug gaps in coastal security.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs should support states/UTs by providing any required technical and financial assistance as well as monitoring regularly the implementation of the recommendations given in the security audit report,” the panel said.
The IB has suggested that CCTV cameras, bomb disposal squads, x-ray scanners, watch towers and additional patrolling should be mounted in and around these areas for effective vigil.