Coast Guard to fit all lighthouses with radars

Addressing mediapersons ahead of the 33rd anniversary of the organisation, Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral Anil Chopra on Thursday said that along with the radars, cameras and AIS systems would also be fitted on the lighthouses.

"All over India, there are light houses and they are fairly tall structures. In 2005-06 plans were made to put radars atop them to pick up contacts of anything close to the coast," Chopra told reporters here.

"But the more contacts you pick, the more confusing it becomes unless you know who it is. Now they will have camera and AIS to take pictures and identify. The radars and cameras have become so sensitive that it can take real time pictures of the coastal region," Chopra added.

The project would cost Rs.351 crore and the inputs gathered would be fed to all the agencies responsible for the maritime security, he said.

These measures are among the slew of steps announced by the defence ministry to plug the loopholes in the coastal security following the Mumbai terror attack in November 2008.

About 96 coastal police stations would be established along the coast in the first phase followed by 131 police stations in the second phase.

"A coastal road along the coastline, as in other countries, is also under construction to help in patrolling. About 204 boats have to be supplied to these coastal police stations. It (security measure) is being monitored at the level of cabinet secretary," he said.

With the modernisation of the fleet, Coast Guard hopes to double its strength by next year and triple it by the end of this decade.

"We will become the fourth largest Coast Guard... people can come and attempt (to attack) but we are prepared now. And this gives us confidence to take on any attack," Chopra said.

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