Only 77 policemen guard city’s coastline
Seven speed boats, eight rifles, 14 bulletproof jackets and 19 life jackets are all they have to secure 104-km coastline
NAVI MUMBAI: Even as the gover nment is planning water transport service along the 104km Navi Mumbai coastline, it is yet to secure the vulnerable sea.
Sixty kilometres of the city’s coastline are surrounded by the Arabian sea, the rest 44 kilometres are along creeks. However, t he Navi Mumbai s pecial branch, which is responsible for guarding this huge coastline, has only 77 officers. Of these, 15 are assistant inspectors and sub-inspectors and 62 are constables and drivers.
The scenario is worse when it comes to equipment and weapons available with the team.
Seven speed boats, eight rifles, 14 bulletproof jackets and 19 life jackets are all they have to guard the coast.
Navi Mumbai police commissionerate has two coastal police stations — NRI and Mora. However, they are only responsible for maintaining law and order in those areas and not for patrolling and safeguarding the coastlines.
“It is alarming that the Navi Mumbai police neither have sufficient manpower nor the required equipment to guard a huge coastline. Taking advan- tage of these loopholes, terrorists can easily enter the city from other countries and attack. At a time when massive projects involving crores are being planned here, little has been done to ensure residents’ safety,” said Rajesh Kadu, 51, an activist from Uran.
A senior police officer from the special branch said that discussions are being held for getting more bulletproof jackets, speed boats and other equipment for costal security, but nothing has been finalised so far.
Suresh Mengade, deputy commissioner of police ( special branch), said, “We may not have the required manpower for guarding the coastline, but we are trying to find a solution for that. The villagers of these areas are in constant touch with our officials and are working as our eye and ear. We also have police mitras and Sagar Rakshak dals and they keep updating us about the happening in those areas. We are conducting meetings with these volunteers regularly.”
“The gram pan c hay at members also give details on WhatsApp groups. We have alerted all the residents to contact us on coastal helpline 1093 if they find anything unusual along the coastline. Likewise, fishermen have also been given identity cards and we conduct random checking among them with biometric devices,” he added.