The 1,600-km coastline of Gujarat offers easy access to “terrorists” owing to gross neglect of coastal security under Prime Minister and former Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s regime, Congress spokesperson and MLA Shaktisinh Gohil alleged on Monday.
Pointing to serious lacunae in the State’s coastal security infrastructure, Mr. Gohil alleged that money meant for coastal police stations was used for setting up stations in Banaskantha and Ahmedabad instead.
Furthermore, “21 coastal check posts have no staff; they are only on paper. Of the 29 coastal outposts [COP], only 14 are functional and that too with a skeletal staff of lower rank like constable and assistant sub-inspector. There is only 29 per cent staff in these COPs,” he said in a press release.
Mr. Gohil pointed out that in 2005 the Centre had drawn up a Coastal Security Scheme (CSS) and provided funds for it, but nothing substantial was done even though the Gujarat coast was used for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
“In 2006, Gujarat was given funds with a well-defined agenda of setting up 10 coastal police stations (CPS), 25 coastal check posts (CCP) and 46 COPs. The State was also given 30 patrol boats with latest equipment such as night vision cameras, but they are not used at night,” he said.
Gujarat’s Kutch and Jamnagar districts share their borders with Pakistan, but Kutch has only one coastal police station while the two CPS which were set up in Jamnagar as per the Centre’s plan have now been shifted to Vadinar and Okha. “This has left a vast stretch between Harshad Mata temple and Dwarka temple open to all kinds of terror activities,” he said.
The Centre had provided Gujarat with 30 interceptor boats of which two are of two tonnes and one of five tonnes. As per the instructions of the Centre, these boats had to patrol for 150 km every month and 1800 km every year, but they fell short of covering the stipulated mileage.
Mr. Gohil cited the 2009 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India which said the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Automatic Vehicle Locator System (AVLS) had not been installed.
Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad was also in the doldrums owing to a large number of vacancies, he said.
Meanwhile, following the recent boat incident off the Gujarat coast, the State has deployed 173 marine commandos along the coastline.