A total of 177 selected fisherfolk, who were part of last years’ flood rescue mission are set to take charge as Coastal Wardens in the Coastal Police of Kerala on June 30, after completing a four month long training procedure. The state estimates that the recruitment of fisherfolk to Coastal Police will help in achieving community participation in the maintenance of coastal security.
Just after the devastating floods which swept Kerala last year, the LDF government had promised the fisher community that a few selected ones will be recruited to the Coastal Police. On September 1 last year, the state finance minister Dr. T M Thomas Isaac posted on Twitter,
Learning from lessons of the flood: Fishermen are the best rescuers.Their potential should be tapped. 200 fishermen to be recruited into police as coastal wardens.Fisheries Dept. to raise a team of rescue volunteers in every district from fishermen.Both schemes approved.
— Thomas Isaac (@drthomasisaac) September 1, 2018
A report by international research organisation, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research about the 2018 Kerala Floods states, “The role played by the fishermen who joined the rescue mission with their fishing boats was crucial. Thousands of them, mostly from the southern districts, came to the flooded regions, with more than 4,500 boats. Mobilised by trade unions and the State government’s Fisheries Department, they waded into the waters even late at night, when everybody else had returned from the rescue operations. It is estimated that more than 70,000 people were rescued by fishermen.”
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Presently, there are 18 coastal police stations functioning in the state in coastal districts from north to south. And the new coastal wardens will be deployed across 15 coastal police stations in nine districts. As they are very familiar with the weather and other conditions in the sea, the state police estimates that through their recruitment the state can prevent smuggling, human trafficking and other unlawful activities through sea on a large scale. The wardens were also trained for rescue operations in the sea, as they are experienced in sea swimming.
By these new recruitments, the intelligence network of Coastal Police plans to seek more public participation in the Kadalora Jagratha Samithy (Coastal Vigil Committee). Fishermen from different Unions, Fisheries Officials, Local Political representatives and concerned Circle Inspectors are also members of the Kadalora Jagratha Samithy.
The India Navy conducted a two-day training session for these coastal guards. The participating fishermen were introduced to various systems fitted at Joint Operation Centre, Kochi, for monitoring coastal security along the Kerala coast. The trainees were briefed on threats from the sea and the importance of Coastal Security in the session.
This is not the first time that the Pinarayi Vijayan led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has taken up special recruitment. Last month, the LDF government had recruited 74 tribal people, including 24 women, into the Kerala Police as constables by special recruitment procedure, from Palakkad, Wayanad and Malappuram districts.
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