India is planning a number of measures to stop their fishermen from straying into Sri Lankan waters.
They could soon put in place a string of buoys on the seas to physically demarcate its settled maritime border with Sri Lanka, the Asian Age reported.
The Ministry of shipping has constituted a committee – headed by the country’s chief hydrographer Vice Admiral B R Rao – that will consider and suggest measures to forewarn Indian fishermen from straying into Sri Lanka waters.
Apart from the physical buoys, other measures under consideration include enabling cellphone blips to alert their mobile phones whenever they are crossing into Sri Lankan waters, the report said adding, the committee has already contacted one of India’s leading telecom service providers and discussed ways to make this possible.
Fishermen are known to carry their mobile phones to contact family members as they near the shore.
‘We are trying to use technology to alert them as they near the maritime border’, said an official. Lighthouses could also flash lights in such a way that its light dims and completely vanishes by the time fishing boats reach the maritime border, The Asian Age said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Express states in a report published yesterday (21) that the argument that Tamil Nadu fishermen are clueless when intruding into Lankan waters fall flat.
‘For they use Global Positioning System (GPS) when locating their catch. So what drives these men to cross the IMBL despite a history of hostilities? No prizes for guessing. Its better catch there’, the report said.
The gradual rise in the number of boats has reportedly led to depletion of fish in Indian waters. The TN fishermen are also emboldened by the fact that traditional fishermen had netted in Lankan waters without any obstacle for several years.
Now fishermen get a GPS from Thoothukudi or Chennai and head to fish rich regions in deep sea, the Indian Express said.
Devadas, President of the Fishermen Cooperative Societies, Rameswaram, said fishermen with GPS knew when they crossed the border. But, he added, they had no other choice due to the depleting catch. ‘It is their livelihood’, he reasoned.
N J Bose, General Secretary TN fishermen federation said, poverty drove them to intrude into Lankan waters.