Despite coastal security being a major priority for the government since the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, where militants used the sea route to access the Indian territory, a Comptroller and Auditor General Report tabled in the Odisha Assembly on Monday picked glaring loopholes in coastal security preparedness in the State.
“As against patrolling of at least 81,000 hours during 2012-15 as per norm, the actual patrolling hours were only 2,805 hours (3.46 per cent). The shortfall in patrolling hours ranged from 93.43 to 99.44 per cent,” finds CAG in its report.
The marine police are responsible for patrolling in sea up to five nautical miles. As per the Government of India norm (October 2010), each boat should be tasked for patrolling for a minimum 150 hours in a month and 1,800 hours per annum, the report says.
The auditors had checked records of nine sample marine police stations (MPSs). Only five MPSs had been equipped with 15 interceptor boats. CAG adds that reason for shortfall in patrolling was not furnished to it.
It was noticed, the report says, that there was no inspection of MPSs by officers in the rank of Inspector General and Deputy Inspector General during 2012-15 as against the norm of five inspections each as per the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). Inspections done by the Superintendent of Police were 10 (63 per cent) against required 16 and those by Sub-Divisional Police Officer were 9 (26 per cent) against required 35.
According to CAG, utilisation of funds meant for establishing basic infrastructure under the scheme was only 31.07 per cent for Phase-II of the scheme even after four years of receipt of funds from Centre.
Required infrastructure like buildings for police stations, barracks and jetties are yet to be constructed. Besides, equipment and vehicles were either not purchased or utilised for other purposes, finds the audit.
The department had issued 37 vehicles to nine sample MPSs. Joint physical inspection of assets of sample MPSs revealed that only 14 vehicles were available. The remaining 23 vehicles were used for activities other than marine policing, CAG report detects.
The apex audit agency has also pointed out that non-technical persons were engaged in marine police stations. “Only 15 out of 98 marine police personnel posted in MPSs were trained in marine policing at Indian Coast Guard Centre, Paradip, as of March 2015. However, only one trained policeman was deployed in one MPS,” it observes.
While Odisha has a 476.70 km-long coastline, vulnerable to export/ import of illegal arms, contraband articles via sea route, unauthorised fishing, and entry of anti-national elements from the neighbouring countries, security preparedness leaves a lot to be desired.
Only 31.07 % of funds meant for basic infrastructure utilised; no inspections done by senior officers