Chennai: The Madras high court has observed that considering the cost of the transponders and the continuous problems which the fishermen face all along, the government should come forward to provide financial assistance to the fishermen by extending the subsidy to the maximum.

A division bench comprising Justices S.Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad posted to October 12, further hearing of the petition filed by Fisherman Care, represented by its president LTA Peter Rayan.

When the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, as directed by the court earlier, an officer from ISRO appeared before the Bench and explained about functioning of transponders.
It was also explained that to fix one transponder the cost will be around Rs 40,000. Recording the same, the bench made the above observation.

Deputy Inspector general of Indian Coast Guard ,Dony Michael filed a report before the court.

In his report, he said non-mechanized or country crafts were not fitted with any of the communication/navigational equipment. Distress Alert Transponders (DATS) (to be transmitted only in distress), developed by ISRO have been issued to fishermen at subsidized rates.

He said if only the fishing boats were fitted with AIS transponders, the detection and the identity of the fishing boats can be ascertained. However, presently fitments of AIS transponder onboard fishing boats were not mandatory and hence none of the fishing boats were fitted with AIS transponder.

To monitor through other passive electronic means, in Phase II of construction of shore radar stations, the Radar Station Olaikunda at Rameswaram and Tondi were planned to be commissioned by end of 2019/early 2020 would largely augment in existing ICG efforts to enhance electronic surveillance in the area.

Matter for fitment of VHF sets onboard country crafts was essentially recommended and may be made compulsory for positive registration, he added.

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