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Maharashtra: Bike expedition to carry tales of Shivaji’s naval exploits to coastal areas

To educate people on need for coastal security, the rally will cut through 17 districts.

west coast, west coast security, india coastal security, india news, pune news, maharashtra news, news The bikers’ group on an earlier expedition

To mark 351 years of the foundation of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji’s navy and educate people living in coastal areas about the need for coastal security, a group of youths from Pune have organised a bike expedition from January 30 to February 17 to cover coastal villages of Maharashtra, Goa and northern Karnataka.

The expedition, which will cut through 17 districts and 59 forts on the way, will begin from Vadhu Budruk village in Shirur tehsil of Pune district and end at Basrur village in Karnataka, where Marathas had defeated the Dutch-Portuguese in a naval battle. The expedition will return to Pune on February 17.

The main objective of this expedition is to interact with the locals over the issues of coastal security.

Going against the then prevalent religious taboo of not traversing the ocean, Shivaji had built a strong navy, which had successfully kept a check on the activities of British and Portuguese who used oceans for their military campaigns in far-off places.

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The need for a strong coastal security was felt most recently in the aftermath of the November 26, 2008, terror attacks in Mumbai for which the terrorists from Pakistan used the sea route to gain entry into Maharashtra’s capital.

“Shivaji Maharaj had identified the sea threat 351 years ago. It was a revolutionary step to strengthen the naval force with people who knew sea well and stayed close to it. But today, we can’t stop it. The Indian Navy or the Coast Guard cannot be held responsible for everything because they have a huge area to cover and it is impossible to keep a watch on all of it. Involving people living in coastal areas can solve a lot of problems,” says Sandeep Mahind, a volunteer from the group.

“In the hierarchy of Maratha Navy, there used to be a kotwal, who informed the navy regarding any suspicious activity. He was given a specific dress code so that the navy personnel could identify him and trust his information. If each village on the coastal line gets one kotwal today, it can be beneficial for the navy. So, we are going to pick volunteers from each village and help them establish contact with the Navy,” says Harshvardhan Ghevade, another volunteer.

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Apart from this, the group will also interact with local fishermen, who can observe any suspicious activity before anyone else. “If 20 boats have gone for fishing and 21 return, the fishermen should inform that there is something wrong,” says Ghevade.

Currently, 70 volunteers have registered for the expedition against the target of 200 the group has set for itself.

The route has been scouted for lodging and other things and NGOs from different villages have been informed about the visit.

First published on: 21-01-2016 at 05:21:56 am
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