Eye on Elephanta: Maritime board to build two centres
Officials say centres at Mora jetty, Shetbunder may be ready in two months
Maharashtra Maritime Board ( MMB) has decided to build two operation centers for Navi Mumbai police to conduct security checks on the people who visit Elephanta Island off Mumbai harbour.
While the first centre will be constructed at Mora jetty in Navi Mumbai, the second one will come up at Shetbunder on the island.
According to police sources, around four l akh tourists, including 50,000 foreigners, visit the island every year that is famous for its ancient cave temples and natural beauty.
“Taking the safety and security of the tourists and around 1,200 inhabitants of the island, we have decided to construct the operation centres. They will be handed over to the police once the construction is completed,” said PB Pawar, assistant inspector of MMB. The work is likely to be done in next two months.
Suresh Mengade, deputy commissioner of police (special branch), said, “We will deploy officials at both centres to check the visitors with metal detectors. It will not be possible for anyone to enter the island with firearms or explosives after that. We have also asked the MMB reconstruct the police chowky, which has been in bad shape for years now.”
According to Mengade, the tourists come to the island only from Gateway of India in Mumbai. “People who go from Mora jetty in Navi Mumbai are not tourists. They are local villagers and visit the island in pri- vate boats in meet their relatives. However, we will treat all of them equally as we do not want to take any chances,” he said.
The Navi Mumbai police organised a meeting at the island to take stock of the law and order situation on Saturday.
“We have provided two armed policemen to look after the island 24x7. Several teams of police mitras have been formed to give us updates of the happenings there. The island will be kept under surveillance by daily boat patrolling,” Mengade said.