New Delhi: A Parliamentary committee has expressed its "shock" over a special report prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) which found that about 37 percent of minor ports in the country are absolutely defenceless.
The committee has said that the report should act as an "alarm bell" for the government, especially at those ports which are located along the coastline of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
"The committee is shocked to note that according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, out of 203 non-major/minor ports, 45 are non-operational while 75 have no security force even for name sake to guard them. Further, many of these non-operational ports are used as fish landing points/jetties and this list includes 49 non-major ports."
"The committee takes a very serious note on the grave deficiencies highlighted in the security audit report of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and is of the view that this report of IB should act as an alarm bell for the government, particularly with reference to such ports in Gujarat and Maharashtra," a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs (coastal security) tabled on Friday said.
The IB report said that out of the 49 non-major ports, 21 are located in Gujarat, nine in Maharashtra, five in Andhra Pradesh, two in Karnataka, 6 in Tamil Nadu, two in Puducherry and one each in Goa, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Kerala and Odisha.
It said as per the report, there are "several shortcomings in the existing security arrangements like X-ray is not available, non-maintenance of record of incoming or outgoing communications, to name a few."
The panel has recommended to various coastal states and Union Territories to implement the suggestions made by the snoop agency to plug these gaps.
"The committee feels strongly that the recommendations given in the above said report should be implemented at the earliest by all states and UTs. The Ministry of Home Affairs should support states/UTs by providing any required technical and financial assistance as well as monitoring regularly the implementation of the recommendations given in the security audit report," the panel said.
The IB has suggested that CCTV cameras, bomb disposal squads, X-ray scanners, watch towers and additional patrolling should be mounted in and around these areas for effective vigil.