Mumbai Local

Rajnath may approve creation of coastal police force today


Union Minister Rajnath Singh is likely on Thursday to approve a proposal to create a centralised coastal police force for monitoring the Indian shoreline running through eight States and two Union Territories.

Maharashtra is likely to support the proposal. Several senior officials from the State and the Coast Guard said if approved and implemented, the proposal is likely to clear the prevailing jurisdictional issues between multiple agencies patrolling the coastal waters of India.

Home secretaries of the States and Union Territories are likely to participate in the meeting being held in Mumbai on June 16, more than seven years after the 26/11 terrorists entered the city via the sea. “We are likely to moot a proposal for a centralised force that could be controlled by the home ministry of the respective states for tackling issues within their territorial water. Currently, no one agency is responsible for any mess taking place in Indian waters and the blame is passed on,” said a senior Coast Guard official.

The strengthening of coastal security along the Indian shoreline has not been fully addressed yet. In Maharashtra, the government is unable to deploy sea wardens for monitoring of fishermen sailing in and out of the state’s 720-km-long coastline. “We are also likely to discuss problems of coastal police stations held up because of land issues. The pending issues of registering fishing boats and biometric cards will also be discussed by the state team,” said a senior home department official.

While the State Fisheries Department had registered fishing boats, nearly 72,000 biometric cards have not been distributed yet. Of the 2,11,857 fishermen, only 1,40,132 have been given a card. Worse, 91 sea wardens, who were to be deployed at an equal number of vulnerable points identified by the police department, are also not in place. As a result, nearly 25,496 vessels arriving at and leaving the shores are not being given a mandatory token.

Following the 26/11 attacks, the Maharashtra government had on December 30, 2008, appointed the Ram Pradhan Committee to investigate the response to the attacks and suggest corrective measures. Since then, the government has bought 57 speedboats, in addition to its existing fleet of 17 fibre boats. Police stations and check posts have been constructed and 1,004 additional posts sanctioned. Some 1,604 policemen have been trained and radar systems installed at five locations, senior State government officials said.

But the construction of police stations is yet not complete. The committee had envisaged construction of 19 police stations and 32 check posts in addition to the existing 25 police stations and 59 check posts along the state’s coastline. The construction of nine coastal police stations is yet to begin.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 9:41:27 PM |

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