Eye on Ele­phanta: Mar­itime board to build two cen­tres

Of­fi­cials say cen­tres at Mora jetty, Shet­bun­der may be ready in two months

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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