Po­lice get bet­ter build­ing at Ele­phanta is­land after years

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com The new build­ing for po­lice of­fi­cers at Ele­phanta.

In an ef­fort to pro­vide bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties to the on duty of­fi­cials and to make Ele­phanta Is­land safer at night, the Ma­ha­rash­tra Mar­itime Board (MMB) has con­structed a build­ing for Navi Mumbai po­lice on the is­land.

Un­til now, ev­ery morn­ing, three con­sta­bles from the po­lice sta­tion used to leave for the is­land in pri­vate boats and re­turn in the evening. The is­land re­mains un­guarded at night due to lack of proper fa­cil­i­ties for the cops.

For the past sev­eral years, the po­lice had been run­ning a po­lice sta­tion from a di­lap­i­dated house on the is­land with a few bro­ken chairs. It also had no wa­ter con­nec­tion. “The MMB de­mol­ished that house and con­structed the new build­ing on the same plot. The con­struc­tion was com­pleted around two weeks ago but since we were busy with the ban­dobast for Ganeshot­sav, the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the build­ing got de­layed. It will be for­mally in­au­gu­rated in a few days,” said Jairaj Ch­ha­pariya, se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor of Mora po­lice sta­tion.

The is­land, lo­cated10 kms off Mumbai, comes un­der the Navi Mumbai po­lice com­mis­sion­er­ate and is looked after by Mora coastal po­lice sta­tion. Around 4,000 tourists, in­clud­ing many for­eign­ers, visit the is­land ev­ery day for the fa­mous caves and this num­ber in­creases dur­ing week­ends and fes­ti­vals like Christ­mas and New Years.

STAFF CRUNCH

Se­cu­rity on the is­land was beefed up after ter­ror­ists killed 20 peo­ple in a Dhaka res­tau­rant in June. How­ever, after a few weeks, staff crunch led to re­duc­tion in the num­ber of po­lice per­son­nel de­ployed there.

Asked how only three con­sta­bles are ex­pected to safe­guard so many peo­ple, a se­nior of­fi­cer said, “It is true that we have a lot to do for safety and se­cu­rity of the tourists and the lo­cal res­i­dents of the is­land. But the prob­lem is we too do not have the re­quired man­power in our po­lice sta­tion. Still we send five to seven peo­ple dur­ing the week­ends and other fes­ti­vals.” The old run-down build­ing hardly looked like a po­lice sta­tion.

“We have also de­cided to keep at least two of­fi­cials with firearms there at night. We will see what else we can do to in­crease po­lice vig­i­lance on the is­land,” he added.

NO BOATS

Lack of po­lice boats for the is­land is an­other big is­sue. A se­nior of­fi­cer from the Navi Mumbai special branch said, “It is true that our con­sta­bles use pri­vate boats to go to the is­land, but we have never faced any prob­lem be­cause of this. Dur­ing emer­gency, we take speed boats from Reti Bun­der in Be­la­pur to go there. We are also con­duct­ing reg­u­lar mock drills, meet­ings with the vil­lagers, lo­cal shop keep­ers to en­sure safety of the peo­ple at the is­land. Like­wise, we also have groups of vol­un­teers to keep us up­dated about the re­cent hap­pen­ings there.”

HT PHO­TOS

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