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

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

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.

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