Floating jetties to curb Indo-Lanka smuggling activities

081Officials in Ramanathapuram have decided to establish floating jetties to curb smuggling activities between Sri Lanka and India.

Seeking to strengthen the four Customs Preventive Units (CPUs) in the district which were handicapped by lack of logistic facilities, the Directorate of Logistics (DOL) has decided to establish floating jetties and give fresh lease of life to two of the four hi-tech boats, which were under repair, The Hindu newspaper reported.

As the coastal district had close proximity to Sri Lanka and witnessed ‘thriving’ smuggling activities, the Commissionerate of Customs had established four CPUs in Rameswaram, Mandapam, Thondi and Kilakarai, under the supervision of the office of Additional Commissionerate in Ramanathapuram.

The DOL had supplied four hi-tech boats, one each to the CPUs to step up surveillance and sea patrolling but after a few years, they could not be operated due to lack of maintenance facilities. All the four boats were under repair now, official sources said.

To overcome the problem, the DOL has decided to establish floating jetties and repair the engines of two boats, E. Clement Jeevananthan, Assistant Commissioner of Customs told The Hindu. The Commissionerate engaged Engineers from Central Public Works (CPW), Madurai and completed the survey recently, he said.

The engineers opined that floating jetty could not be established at Kilakarai as the area was rocky and did not have necessary depth, he said. A minimum of three-metre depth near the shore was necessary for establishing floating jetties, he said.

The engineers have identified spots, 15 metres away from the shore in Mandapam, 150 metres away from Rameswaram and 500 metres away from Thondi, he said.

The three metre depth was available only half-a-kilometre away from the shore in Thondi as the area had shallow water, he said.

The Assistant Director of Marine from Chennai had inspected the spots and given his expert opinion. He has also given his opinion that Kilakarai area was not fit for establishing floating jetty, Mr. Jeevananthan said.

The survey reports have been sent to the Commissionorate office in Tiruchi to be forwarded to the DOL, he said adding floating jetties would help the CPUs maintain the boats well and step up patrolling operations, he added. (Colombo Gazette)