CHENNAI: In order to keep deep sea fishermen safe, the State government would fit transponders developed by ISRO on 4,997 mechanised boats. A budgetary allocation of Rs 18 crore has been made and the fisheries department has held two rounds of technical committee meetings with ISRO. As a pilot scale project has already been implemented, wherein 507 transponders were fitted on boats. Speaking to Express, fisheries commissioner GS Sameeran said it is a breakthrough technology.
The official said the department has provided satellite phones and NavIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) receivers to fishing vessels clusters. But, NavIC receivers has a disadvantage. “Only one-way communication is possible. We can send alert, but fishermen weren’t able to communicate with us. Satellite phones usage is restricted and need special approval from Ministry of Home Affairs. However, the transponders enables two-way communication up to 200 nautical miles.”
Meanwhile, in another important move, a special scheme for diversification of 2,000 trawlers from Palk Bay area at a cost of Rs 1,600 crore is under implementation. In the first phase, 500 deep sea tuna long liners cum gillnetter boats are under construction. Fishing harbours will be constructed at Azhagankuppam in Villupuram and Alamparaikuppam in Chengalpattu at a cost of Rs 235 crore, and at Arcottuthurai in Nagapattinam at a cost of Rs 150 crore. Deputy CM Panneerselvam, has allocated Rs 298.12 crore as assistance.