In a first of its kind initiative in the state, members of fishing communities of Kerala took pledge as coastal police wardens on Sunday. The first batch includes 177 members, and has five women. The batch had its passing out parade at the Kerala Police Academy in Ramavarmapuram of Thrissur on Sunday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan received the passing out parade of the coastal police wardens.
The coastal police wardens will have the responsibility of guarding coastal territory apart from engaging in rescue operations. The force has already been given training in sea patrolling and inspection of boats seen in suspicious circumstances.
The state government had declared appointment of around 200 fisher folk as coastal police wardens last year in the backdrop of tragedy inflicted by cyclone Ockhi in 2017. The Chief Minister on Sunday said that this was also a tribute to the fisherfolks of Kerala who rescued scores of lives during the 2018 August flood. “Those who were called as Kerala’s army during the flood have been officially included in the force,” said Pinarayi Vijayan, about the incorporation of fishing community members into Kerala’s coastal force.
According to official figures, as many as 669 boats went out with 4,537 fishermen during the Kerala floods. It is estimated that they saved at least 65,000 lives during the rescue works.
“We will soon select 23 more people from the community to make the force 200-strong, as had been declared earlier,” said Pinarayi Vijayan in a Facebook post on Sunday. He also added that though a time period of one year has been declared for the post, there is no need to be concerned about loss of jobs.
The persons who were specially selected from the coastal villages of Kerala have been directly appointed as coastal police wardens for a period of one year. The officials were given four months’ intense training by the coast guard, fire and rescue department, and the Indian Navy.