KUTCH: Amid escalation of tensions with Pakistan, security has been stepped up along Gujarat's sea and land borders with the neighbouring country and restriction put on travel of people near them besides increasing vigil at vital installations, police officials said Wednesday.
The move comes in the backdrop of India's aerial strike on terror camps in Pakistan Tuesday following the Pulwama carnage and retaliatory action by Islamabad Wednesday.
All civil works near the border were suspended and police personnel deployed in large numbers at all vital installations in the border districts, they said.
"In normal times, people are allowed to go up to the Kutch border with Pakistan after getting the permission of the BSF as the border falls in the Rann of Kutch guarded by it. "But now defence forces have stopped giving permission to cross India Bridge, from where visitors were allowed to go near the border," the officials said.
All civil works near the border have been suspended and workers told to leave the area, they said. Commandos of the state police's Quick Response Team (QRT) have been deployed at vital installations in the border districts, they said.
Gujarat shares 512-km land border with Pakistan. Patan, Banaskantha and Kutch districts, which share a land border with Pakistan, have been put on high alert. Besides more than half a dozen Gujarat districts share sea border with Pakistan. These include Kutch, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Amreli, Bhavnagar and Bharuch.
The officials said the police have asked residents of villages located near the border to report any suspicious movement. IG (Border Range) D B Vaghela said they have laid out a definite plan for internal security along the sea and land borders.
"We have rolled out a definite plan of internal security of sea border as well as the land border. The border is being secured by our armed forces. "Our focus is on internal security. We are working to ensure no disturbance takes place in border regions during the ongoing tension," Vaghela told PTI.
"We have secured around 20 vital installations in districts along the sea border. We have been holding meetings with the local people. We held one such meeting with villagers in Naliya (Kutch district) today," the IPS officer said.
"We have increased security along the entire land border area also," Vaghela said. Range IG ofBhavnagar Ashok Yadav said round-the-clock patrolling is being carried out in the sea. Costal districts of Bhavnagar and Amreli fall under his range.
"We have told fishermen to immediately report any suspicious movement. Patrolling is going on round-the-clock," he said. Gujarat has vital industrial installations like Kandla and Mundra ports, oil refineries, LPG and LNG terminals in the coastal districts.
Fishermen who venture into the sea have been told not to go near the International Maritime Boundary with Pakistan, the officials said. They have also been asked to report any suspicious movement to the police, they said.