Notwithstanding opposition from coastal states, the Union Home Ministry has asked them to hire ex-naval officials to strengthen policing along the shores.
The directive came from Home Minister P Chidambaram, who has said that if ex-Indian Air Force pilots could be hired for operating helicopters, then why not ex-seamen and sailors to operate the boats.
“States must make efforts of their own,” a top Home Ministry official said.
The Home Ministry recently procured two Interceptor boats in September raising the total to 24. The shortfall of 12 such boats was expected to be completed by end of this year.
States have expressed reservations over setting up of coastal police stations saying the Indian waters should be guarded by the Navy or by the Coast Guards and the police should be kept out of it.
The police chiefs from various coastal states recently said it was practically impossible to maintain the speed boats which were being purchased by the Union Home Ministry.
The police chiefs said while a boat costs nearly Rs 12 crore, its annual maintenance would require nearly Rs five crore and had to be borne out of the state police budget.
Some of them said it was a multiplicity of authorities when the sea was being looked after by Navy and Coast Guards and BSF’s Water Wing, official sources said.
Government has been giving top priority to secure the 7,500-km coastline following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks when the perpetrators had taken the sea route.
A couple of state police chiefs have said it was impossible to train the manpower for the coastal police.
Besides, the annual quota of 700 litres of fuel sanctioned by the Union Home Ministry for a speed boat was meagre and not enough for maintaining a round-the-clock surveillance of the waters, they said.
The police chiefs, at a recent conference here, were deliberating on the Home Ministry’s security scheme to protect the coastline touching nine states and four Union territories and dotted with 12 major and 180 minor ports.