TN fishermen to get VHF radio devices

TN fishermen to get VHF radio devices

 All mechanised fishing boats in Tamil Nadu will get VHF (very high frequency) wireless radio handsets that will receive a variety of information including ‘prospective fish rich sites’ in the sea, under a state government scheme.

Chief Minister J Jayalalitha announced the scheme on Friday, giving a hefty boost to the morale of Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Making a suo-motu statement in the Legislative Assembly under Rule 110, Jayalalitha said while some mechanised fishing boats across the state now had the VHF wireless facility fitted onto them, the government would offer massive subsidy assistance to each uncovered craft to go in for such a system.

The state government would subsidise 75 per cent of the cost of each VHF radio device (current cost Rs 20,000 a piece).

Jayalalitha said it would help fisherfolk in distress with actionable information on weather forecasts, convey information on the state of the ocean, give tsunami, cyclone and other warnings and network the equipment with the services provided by the Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre For Ocean Information (INCOIS).

The centre shared a whole range of ocean-related information to all stake-holders including the Defense forces, NGOs’ and fishermen’s groups, with various forecasts and advisories.

Once networked with INCOIS, through this VHF radio handsets, fishermen would be able to quickly receive information on ‘prospective sites’ where fish could be found concentrated at a particular time to enable them zero in on that location for a more profitable catch. At present, there are about 5,600 mechanised fishing boats in all in the state, she said.

Info towers

Jayalalitha said a series of communication towers would be set up along the coastline as supportive infrastructure that would help in disseminating such vital information to fisherfolk on a real time basis and also in turn enable distressed fishermen to immediately get in contact with the on-shore authorities.

For fishermen who put out to sea for months for deep-sea fishing, the government would equip their mechanised vessels with High Frequency (HF) radio devices to meet the same objectives.

The state would subsidise 75 per cent of the cost of each HF radio wireless set (now priced at Rs 2.5 lakh a piece).

The State fisheries department would be entrusted with the task of setting up and maintaining control rooms to co-ordinate all the shore-to-sea communication and vice-versa for which Rs. 8.5 crore would be separately earmarked.

Another investment of Rs 75 crore would be made to upgrade all the facilities at the fishing harbour in Kasimedu in north Chennai, which had been badly damaged during the 2004 tsunami.

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