Azhikkal station functions from family quarters

Even after three years of receiving sanction from the Central government, work on the Azhikkal coastal police station, the first one in the district, is progressing at a snail’s pace.

While the Union Home Ministry under the Coastal Security Scheme had sanctioned eight coastal police stations, including those at Vizhinjam, Neendakara, Azhikode, Beypore, Fort Kochi, Thottappally and Thalangara, across the State in the first phase in 2009, the Azhikkal station in the district is yet to begin full-fledged functioning due to lack of proper infrastructure and manpower.

Though work began two years ago, a three-storey building along with a watch tower awaits completion. Till date, 15 personnel have been appointed to the station, though the actual requirement is more than double that figure.

Regular sea patrolling is conducted with the interceptor vessels that were provided for the purpose, while a family quarters of the Valapatanam police station served as a makeshift coastal police station, the personnel said.

The work of the new building is being delayed for unknown reasons while the two 12-tonne interceptor vessels and a five-tonne vessel are docked at the Valapatanam panchayat boat jetty.

The absence of a fuel pumping station is another hurdle as the police personnel have to arrange for the fuel from Mahe at times. To run for an hour, the vessel needs nearly 100 litres of fuel. Though funds are provided, procuring fuel is a difficult task, according to the police personnel.

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