Intelligence Bureau (IB) has claimed that more than one-third minor ports across the country are fragile. In its security audit report on coastal security, prepared for the Ministry of Home Affairs, the IB has found that about 37 per cent of minor ports are absolutely defenseless, leading to Parliamentary committee expressing its “shock” over the special report.
“The committee is shocked to note that according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, out of 203 non-major/minor ports, 45 are non-operational while 75 have no security force even for name sake to guard them. Further, many of these non-operational ports are used as fish landing points/jetties and this list includes 49 non-major ports” a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs (coastal security) tabled on Friday noted.
The Parliamentary committee went on to say that the IB report should act as an “alarm bell” for the government, especially at those ports which are located along the coastline of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
“The committee takes a very serious note on the grave deficiencies highlighted in the security audit report of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and is of the view that this report of IB should act as an alarm bell for the government, particularly with reference to such ports in Gujarat and Maharashtra,” the Parliamentary panel added.
As per the special report, the IB concluded that out of the 49 non-major ports, 21 are located in Gujarat, nine in Maharashtra, five in Andhra Pradesh, two in Karnataka, six in Tamil Nadu, two in Puducherry and one each in Goa, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Kerala and Odisha.
Citing the report, the panel noted that there are “several shortcomings in the existing security arrangements like X-ray is not available, non-maintenance of record of incoming or outgoing communications, to name a few”.
The Parliamentary panel has now recommended to various coastal states and Union Territories to implement the suggestions made by the internal intelligence agency in order to plug the stated gaps.
“The committee feels strongly that the recommendations given in the above said report should be implemented at the earliest by all states and UTs. 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.
Among the suggestions, the IB has listed installation of CCTV cameras, bomb disposal squads, X-ray scanners and watch towers besides additional patrolling around these areas for effective vigil.
(With inputs from the PTI)