JIC to Step Up Vigil in Territorial Waters
In a major effort to step up the vigil on territorial waters, the state government has constituted a Joint Interrogation Committee (JIC) at district-level to submit findings and recommendations to the state Home Department about foreign fishing vessels and crews entering the territorial waters without necessary documents.
District Collector will be the chairman of JIC and District Police Chief will be its convener. Representatives of Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy, Coastal Police, Marine Enforcement and Customs will be the members of the committee along with Fisheries deputy director.
The District Police Chief (Foreign Registration Officer) is the authenticated officer for issuing NOC to leave the country, VISA extension for the foreign fishermen by writing to Ministry of External Affairs to grand NOC.
The committee, constituted as per the instruction of the Government of India, will also take follow up action on apprehension of foreign fishermen.
This is for the first time such a committee is being constituted in the state. “The formation of JIC is to enhance the safety on territorial waters. Though infiltration into Indian territorial waters were not reported recently, we are very careful on the security aspect. The committee will meet often to review the status,” Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told ‘Express’.
When Joint Interrogation Committee submits recommendations and findings on apprehension of foreign fishermen to Home Department, the police Department will coordinate with Home Department with the help of director of fisheries for release order of apprehended fishermen and their boats.
Then, based on the order of the Home Department, the police will write to Ministry of External Affairs for NOC. On receiving the same,Police Department will coordinate with Indian Coast Guard (ICG) for repatriation of the foreign fishermen. IGC will propose the schedule of repatriation.
Apprehended boat and fishermen may be handed over to ICG for repatriation and the same will be communicated to state Home Department, the government order said.
“The proposal to constitute JIC has been there for some time now, but it has been created only now. The major objective is to coordinate the activities, intelligence sharing and settlement of disputes.
“The committee will play a crucial role in ensuring safety on territorial waters,” said K S Balasubramanian, Director General of Police, Kerala.