Cops ill-equipped to guard 104km coast­line in city

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

Navi Mum­bai is said to be one of the safest cities of the coun­try to live in. How­ever, look­ing at the costal se­cu­rity of the city, it can be said that it is a vul­ner­a­ble area and could eas­ily be tar­geted by ter­ror­ists.

The length of the Navi Mum­bai coast­line is 104km. While 60km of the coast­line is sur­rounded by the Ara­bian sea, the re­main­ing 44 km are along creeks. How­ever, the Navi Mum­bai spe­cial branch, which is re­spon­si­ble for guard­ing this huge coast­line, does not have suf­fi­cient equip­ment and weapons.

Ac­cord­ing to sources from the depart­ment, for pa­trolling in the bor­der ar­eas they have just seven speed boats.

They have been given just 14 bul­let­proof jack­ets and 9 life jack­ets to fend for them­selves. They have just eight ri­fles.

The sce­nario is worse when it comes to man power. The depart­ment has just 77 of­fi­cials in­clud­ing 15 sub in­spec­tors.

Navi Mum­bai po­lice com­mis­sion­er­ate has two coastal po­lice sta­tions- NRI and Mora. How­ever, they are re­spon­si­ble only for main­tain­ing law and or­der sit­u­a­tion on those ar­eas and not for pa­trolling and safe­guard­ing the coast­lines.

“It is re­ally alarm­ing that Navi Mum­bai po­lice have nei­ther suf­fi­cient man­power nor re­quired equip­ment to guard a huge coast­line. Tak­ing ad­van­tage of these loop­holes, ter­ror­ists can eas­ily en­ter the city from other coun­tries and at­tack the res­i­dents. At a time when mas­sive projects in­volv­ing crores of ru­pees are be­ing planned here, lit­tle has been done for en­sur­ing safety of the res­i­dents,” said Ra­jesh Kadu, 51, an ac­tivist from Uran.

“We won­der how many kilo­me­tres the po­lice can cover with just seven speed boats in a day. For­get the safety of the res­i­dents, how will the po­lice fight ter­ror­ists with 14 bul­let­proof jack­ets? All of us know what hap­pened dur­ing the Pathankot ter­ror at­tacks ow­ing to the non-avail­abil­ity of such jack­ets,” said Rashmi Patil, 45, a res­i­dent of Nerul.

A se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer from the spe­cial branch in­formed Hin­dus­tan Times 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.

It is re­ally alarm­ing to note that the Navi Mum­bai po­lice have nei­ther suf­fi­cient man­power nor re­quired equip­ment to guard a huge coast­line. Lit­tle has been done to en­sure safety of res­i­dents RA­JESH KADU, actvist

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