Mumbai Local

State’s coastal security still porous

More than seven years after the 26/11 terror attacks, coastal security remains inadequate with the government unable to deploy sea wardens and monitor fishermen sailing in and out of the State’s 720-km long coastline.

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 still, 91 sea wardens, who were to be deployed at an equal number of vulnerable points identified by the police department, have 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.

This is leading to chaos and confusion with the police not being able to identify whether the same fishermen who sailed off are returning to the shore.

Senior officials said that implementation of colour coding is in process for seven coastal units. All boats will be coded in fluorescent colours: in Mumbai city it is yellow, in the suburbs, brown, blue in Thane, and red in Raigad.

“To ensure coastal security, there is an urgent need of deployment of wardens, along with distribution of biometric cards,” a senior police official said. “Besides, the notified landing points and all other non-notified points need to be put under CCTV surveillance to monitor boarding and landing.”

.The scheme envisages 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. But the construction of nine coastal police stations is yet to begin.

After the 26/11 attacks, the Maharashtra government had appointed the Ram Pradhan Committee (on December 30, 2008), to probe 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 put at five locations, senior officials from the State government said.

The Pradhan committee had suggested installing CCTVs at railway stations and department stores. It had pointed out that constables were getting to practise firing only once a year because of lack of ammunition. The panel had noted that the policemen were carrying guns more like lathis . The report had also said that bulletproof jackets were not really bulletproof.

The distribution of biometric card and deployment of wardens is stuck for technical reasons, while construction of police check posts is pending due to land acquisition issues.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 9:05:22 AM |

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