Since 2011, a total of 1,531 incidents involving fishing boats from Gujarat crossing the International Maritime Border (IMB) with Pakistan have happened, the state legislature was informed on Monday.
“A total of 1,531 incidences of (fishing) boats crossing the International Maritime Noundary have happened between 2011 and 2020,” said state Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja, in reply to Congress MLA Punja Vansh who had raised the recent seizure of 45 fishermen and eight boats from Porbandar and Veraval by the Pakistani Marine Security Agency (PMSA).
“If the Coast Guard is patrolling the border, in what circumstances are our boats getting caught,” Vansh asked.
Jadeja said that as the IMB is an imaginary line in the sea, the boats frequently end up crossing it and are caught by the PMSA. He said the state government has conducted 1,121 awareness programmes for fishermen between 2004 and 2020.
In a written statement tabled in the assembly, the government said Indian Coast Guard informs the local fisheries department of any boats that cross the “no fishing zone” as well as the IMB. The licence and diesel card of such fishing boats are suspended.
In addition to this, with the help of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), about 440 fishing boats have been fitted with transponders. Under this pilot project, the boats can be tracked using satellite. “We have also set up Global Positioning System in 5,000 boats,” said Jadeja adding that there are an estimated 39,000 fishing boats in Gujarat.
The minister said a subsidy of Rs 20,000 is being given by the government to set up GPS that will raise an alarm when the boat nears the IMB. The minister also said that Gujarat government is also giving Rs 300 as daily allowance to families of those fishermen who are caught by Pakistan.
“Despite all the efforts of the government, why does Pakistan keep on doing such heinous crimes,” asked Punja Vansh in his supplementary questions.
Speaker Rajendra Trivedi replied, “You will have to ask Pakistan.”
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