Mobile phones to warn fishermen straying into Sri Lankan waters

Friday, February 18, 2011

NEW DELHI - In the backdrop of the diplomatic row over Indian fishermen being killed and arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, the government is discussing with mobile phone service providers to devise ways to warn Indian fishermen against straying into Sri Lankan waters, a top official said Friday.

Not only this, the government is also looking at the possibility of sharing such information through light houses.

The government, according to Chief Hydrograpaher Vice Admiral B.R. Rao, is in talks with cell-phone service providers to put up towers along the maritime boundary “so that as one crosses the boundary it would show up on his or her cell phone”.

“We are finding out various options on how to warn the fishermen. We are trying to draw electronic line, physical line and those kind of things to demarcate the boundary in the sea.”

Rao heads a committee formed last month to physically and technically demarcate maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka for Indian fishermen. The panel has been asked to complete the task in six months.

The committee has members from the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board, the fishing ministry, the directorate general of lighthouses and lightships, and from the navy’s hydrography department.

Rao said the panel is looking at demarcating the boundary through light houses and the intensity of the light of these light houses will be reduced as one crosses the boundary, signalling that the boundary has been crossed.

“Other option is having buoys for physical demarcation, which can be seen physically when one is within the boundary,” he told reporters here on the sidelines of an Indian Navy function.

Sri Lanka Friday released 136 Indian fishermen its navy had detained for allegedly straying into the island nation’s territorial waters.

Last month, two Indian fishermen were killed by the Sri Lankan Navy, forcing India to send Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to convey India’s concern and seek the island nation’s assurance that such attacks would not recur.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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