Almost 1.5 lakh Gujarati fishermen have been issued biometric cards as part of the Central Governments scheme for coastal states to strengthen security post the 26/11 terrorist attack. However,identity verification at sea needs better implementation as there are only 10 biometric card readers with the state,all of which are with the fisheries department.
The security and patrolling agencies have none of the readers. Aware of the lack in number of card readers,the state home department has put forth a requisition for 500 readers with Bharat Electronics Limited.
We have ordered for 500 readers. Each patrolling and investigating agencies including marine police and coast guard will be given the readers,said Additional Chief Secretary (Home) S K Nanda.
The scheme becomes important in Gujarat,as the state shares maritime boundary with Pakistan. According to officials in the fisheries department,some fishermen in Gujarat still have to be covered under the scheme. The department from next week will start a drive for issuing biometric cards, said an official.
The Central Sector Scheme on Issuance of Biometric Identity cards to coastal fishermen was launched on December 11,2009 at a cost of Rs 72 crore. A consortium of three Central Public Sector Undertakings led by Bharat Electronics Ltd worked on the digitisation of data,card production and issuing of cards.