Cops rope in 550 volunteers to safeguard city’s coastline
MORE SECURITY Form police mitras and sagar rakshak dals with residents of villages along coast
In an effort to keep city coastline under surveillance, the Navi Mumbai special branch has recently roped in over 300 people from the coastal villages.
Earlier, the police had only 230 volunteers to assist them in safeguarding coastline. Now, the number of volunteers has increased to around 550. Of the 104-km Navi Mumbai coastline, 60 kms is surrounded by the Arabian Sea and the rest are along creeks.
Suresh Mengade, deputy commissioner of police (special branch), said: “We have around 35 villages along the coastline. We have formed several teams of police mitras and sagar rakshak dals with the residents of the villages.”
“The volunteers share information on WhatsApp groups. They have been asked to call senior officers if they notice something unusual along the coastline. We will conduct regular meetings to train them,” he said.
Hindustan Times had earlier reported that the strength of Navi Mumbai special branch is 77, which is not sufficient to guard such a huge coastline. This team also does not have enough equipment and weapons.
They have only seven speed boats for patrolling in the border areas. The number of bulletproof jackets and life jackets is 14 and nine respectively. They have only eight rifles.
Mengade said, “Although we have limited resources, we do not have any problem in safeguarding the coastline. Apart from the volunteers, we are also in touch with gram panchayats members. We have also alerted residents to contact us on coastal helpline 1093 if they find anything unusual along the coastline.”
According to Mengade, the police are also working in tandem with coast guards and Indian Navy to ensure that no one get any chance to smuggle things and to plan untoward incidents in the city. “Around two weeks ago, we conducted a drive to test the communication among the Indian Navy, coast guard and the police. We checked if we all can communicate in the same frequency in case of emergency and we were successful. Probably, it was done for the first time in Navi Mumbai coastline,” he added.