In an attempt to strengthen its human intelligence gathering on the 105-kilometer coastline, the Indian Navy plans to conduct sensitization and awareness program for ‘shack’ operators in the state.
As per the proposed plan the Navy personnel, along with the state government officials, will interact with shack operators numbering upto 337 across the beaches in the state and guide to hone their observation and reasoning skills.
“We have already conducted similar awareness drives for fishermen and at gram panchayats near the coastal belts, wherein the members keep us posted on any unusual activity or individuals found around their living or operating premise. Already, several tips have been acted upon, although they did not yield any major outcome,” Public Relation Officer of Goa Navy Headquarter, Commander Riji Krishnanan told The Indian Express.
Under the scheme, the shack operators or owner would be given a point of contact with the Navy to get in touch with any suspicious input.
“The information first vetted by the Navy will either be dealt by force or passed on to the state officials. “Our subsequent action depends on the nature of threat,” the officials said.
Shacks are temporary hut like structure in the beaches that are licence to operate by the state’s tourism department. They serve food, drinks and some allow overnight stay. Over the years they have grown immensely popular with the visitors because of its comparatively lower pricing and quick access to the beach. Officials point out that the temporary settlement primarily turn into soft-target as they are hoarded with over 25,000 tourist during peak season. “Tourism being at the helm of affairs in the stay, we cannot show any lapse in its security of people coming in,” an official pointed out.
Another Navy official said that following the 26/11, the Navy official had limited its security monitoring until the fishing boats (both trawler and traditional fishing), but off-late owing to growing security concerns required them to coordinate with the state department on intelligence gathering and dissemination.
He pointed out that the fisheries department mapping of over 9,000 fishermen in the state’s coastal area has served this purpose. “Mapping in complete by 100 per cent they say, the Marine Fishermen Identity Card (MFID) instantly helps us to keep check on those who venture unwarranted into the sea. But now the concern is beyond the shore, that is where we’re tightening up things,” the official said.
“Eventually the plan is to synergies three layer security parameter at sea – in the front line lead by the Navy, followed by the coast guard and then the marine police,” the official said without specifying the dimension of security layer and patrolling pattern.
The Navy officials say at present they have already stepped up the stop-check of fishermen boats in the past two days following the alert by the Intelligence Bureau of terrorist trying to infiltrate through Pakistan borders.