Committee on security preparedness of ports presents report

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New Delhi, Oct 10 (UNI) The High-Powered Committee set up to review the security preparedness of ports, shipyards and other allied installations in the country has made a slew of recommendations, including the formation of an apex agency to regulate security on the lines of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security which may prescribe standards for ports and other stake holders.

In its report presented to the Union Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu here today, the committee, headed by Cochin Port Trust Chairman N Ramachandran, also suggested setting up of a communication control centre as a single point of security issues at every port and smart card based tamper-proof bio-metric ID cards for employees.

It also strongly favoured the deployment of a single security agency like the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at all the ports.

The minister later directed that the committee members and officials should constitute a working group to identify the critical issues raised in the recommendations.

''The recommendations should be discussed threadbare with the concerned departments and agencies before these are considered by the government for taking any decision,'' he said.

Mr Baalu had constituted the committee in April. It was tasked with the job of reviewing the security arrangements in these organisations and assess their adequacy in the context of threats and recommend specific measures to address their deficiencies.

The committee deliberated upon issues like extending the security scanning system in all container terminals with new techniques, access control in ports and shipyards, issue of identity cards to fishermen using port and shipyard areas and introduction of automatic surveillance systems such as CCTVs.

It also looked into the issue of equipping CISF units with dog squads and bomb disposal units, periodic security audit by the Home Ministry, upgradation of infrastructure such as scanners to implement the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and reporting by merchant vessels while passing near the Indian coast.

The committee, after visiting the major ports and shipyards, finalised its report and recommended wide-ranging measures to improve security arrangements.

Apart from the Chairman of the Cochin Port Trust, the other members of the committee included the Deputy Chairmen of the Chennai, Paradip and Jawaharlal Nehru ports, the Traffic Manager, Mumbai Port and representatives from the Intelligence Bureau and the CISF.

UNI

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