Kolkata: A month after French filmmakers were found to have intruded into the protected Jarawa tribal reserve, the Andaman and Nicobar administration has decided to upgrade surveillance system in the area.
Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Lt General (Retd) A K Singh has ordered the formation of a new multi-task force to increase land patrolling of the reserve, officials said today.
The 200 km-long coastline would be guarded by a strong three-layered joint operation team.
In the outer layer, Navy and Coast Guard officials will be present while the middle layer will be manned by interceptor vessels of the police marine force.
The innermost layer which comprises innumerable creeks will be monitored by personnel from police, forest and members of the Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti (AAJVS).
"There would be minimum of four boats having six persons each," Andaman and Nicobar's tribal welfare secretary Theva Neethi Dhas told PTI from Port Blair.
He said that a multi-task force has also been appointed to increase surveillance on the Jarawa land area spread across 1000 sq km.
"There would be four teams with three officials of the health and forest department in each team. Their job would be to visit the area periodically and ensure that no one has ventured inside the Jarawa reserve and report any problem inside," the official said.
Another team would monitor hotels, eateries, shops in vicinity of the Jarawa tribal reserve to keep a tab on the presence of outsiders.
When asked about the Andaman Trunk Road, which passes through the Jarawa habitat, Dhas said it is highly regulated as all vehicles are sent there with a police convoy to ensure zero trespassing.
"To oversee the operations of the surveillance teams we will have two monitoring committees - one at the union territory level and another at the district level. An IG-level officer will be the commander of the joint operation team," he said.
The action comes after two French filmmakers were found to have trespassed into the Jarawa area where they had secretly filmed a documentary on the threatened aboriginal tribe during February. The matter came to light last month.
Making any contact with the Jarawa tribals, clicking their photos or shooting their videos is illegal and the offender may face up to seven years of stringent imprisonment.
The 430-strong Jarawa tribe is extremely vulnerable to diseases and live as nomadic hunter-gatherers.
Due to their isolation, they are likely to have no immunity to common diseases such as flu and measles and chances of them being wiped out by an epidemic are very high.
Till as recent as 1998 they had hardly any contact with the outside world.
Jarawas are among the four major tribes of the islands including Great Andamanese, Onge and Sentinelese and are believed to have lived in their Indian Ocean home for upto 55,000 years.