With the Mumbai attacks in mind and a possibility of terrorists again using the sea route, the Centre is planning to establish 72 more coastal police stations along the country's 7,500 kms maritime borders, doubling their current strength.
This follows an analysis by the Ministry of Home Affairs on how many more coastal police stations are required to get the desired level of maritime security.
Nine states and four Union Territories having coastal borders have been asked to provide their inputs about the proposed police stations based on their experience after the establishment of 73 such PS under the first phase of Coastal Security Scheme (CSS) launched in 2005, a Home Ministry official said.
After receiving the inputs, the Home Ministry will prepare a note about the second phase of the CSS to be presented before the Union Cabinet for its approval.
"If everything goes as schedule, the second phase of the Coastal Security Scheme will be launched from April 2010," the official said.
The nine states to be benefitted under the scheme are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal and the UTs are Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Coastal Security Scheme has been formulated for strengthening infrastructure for patrolling and surveillance of country's coastal areas, particularly shallow areas close to coast to check and counter illegal cross border activities and terror activities.
Under the first phase of the scheme, assistance was given for setting up of 73 coastal police stations, 97 check posts, 58 out posts and 30 barracks. As many as 55 coastal police stations are already operational.
Besides, funds have also been given to purchase 204 Boats, 153 jeeps and 312 motorcycles for mobility on coast and in close coastal waters.
In the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks, the Centre decided to set up a Coastal Command to guard the country's 7,500 km coastline dotted with 12 major and 180 minor ports.
The government also had cleared Rs 6,000-crore worth of acquisition including fast attack crafts, off shore patrol vessels, coastal surveillance radars and helicopters for the Navy and Coast Guard.
The Home Ministry is focusing on firming up additional requirements of the coastal states based on vulnerability or gap analysis in consultation with the Coast Guard, for the purpose of formulating the proposed Phase II of the scheme.
It is also reviewing the status of implementation of other linked initiatives such as registration for fishing and other vessels, installation of communication equipment on these boats, uniform system of issuance of identity cards to fishermen.