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Biometric ID Card Must for Fishing Off Gujarat Coast

In a stern warning to all Gujarat fishermen, Inspector General of Coast Guard (CG) Kuldip Singh Sheoran today said that no fishermen will be allowed to venture into the sea off Gujarat coast if they fail to produce their bio-metric ID cards.

"I know that fishing season will kick start from August 15th. However, there are still many fishermen who haven't acquired their bio-metric ID cards. If we will find any boat having fishermen without that card, we will send it back. Coast Guard will not allow any fishing activity without that card August 15th onwards," said Sheoran, Commander of Coast Guard for North-West region.

Sheoran was speaking at an awareness workshop for fishermen organised at Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) here today, where more more than 330 fishermen from across the state were specially invited to attend the day long programme to understand various legal and regulatory aspects attached to their occupation.

According to Sheoran, there are around 1.73 lakh registered fishermen in Gujarat, living in more than 900 coastal villages.

He also warned the fishermen from breaking the laws while fishing into sea near International Maritime Border with Pakistan.

"I know that many of you deliberately switch off the GPS system to hide your actual location from us. In search of highly valuable Tuna fish, you cross the IMB and enter Pakistani waters, which eventually lands you in jails there. I urge you to stop this activity," said Sheoran.

"You may come back after some time, but, your boats will be given to ISI for terrorist activities against India by Pakistan. During your stay in jail, ISI will also try to lure you and convince you to turn against your own country. Thus, you are putting national security at risk," said Sheoran, who suggested the fishermen to be loyal to their country and not switch off GPS.

He was accompanied by state Director General of Police (DGP) PC Thakur, Director of GNLU, Dr Bimal Patel, Naval Officer In-Charge (NOIC) of Gujarat, Captain Kalpesh Rawal and DIG of Coastal Security Subhash Trivedi.

Endorsing Sheoran, DGP PC Thakur expressed his concern on the issue of national security.

"As per my knowledge, there are three lakh fishermen in Gujarat. But, only 1.5 are having bio-metric cards. This is a matter of concern for us. Fishermen are our eyes and ears in the sea, as they can give us first hand information about any infiltration attempt, which can prevent attacks like 26/11," said Thakur.

"I request the government to immediately start the process of issuing pending Bio-metric cards. I want to assure the administration that police department will definitely conduct the verification process immediately," assured Thakur.

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PLACES: Gujarat
SECTION: National
OUTLOOK 08 August, 2014
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