In a bid to beef up security along the 974-km long coastline of Andhra Pradesh, the state government has decided to set up 15 marine police stations, in addition to the existing six ones and also appoint special police officers in coastal villages.
"In order to strengthen the infrastructure for the coastline patrolling and surveillance, six marine police stations had been established in 2006 in the first phase," deputy superintendent of police (DSP) of marine police CM Naidu said.
"Now, the government is in the process of setting up 15 more marine police stations in the second phase, for which land had already been identified and acquired," he added.
"Once these police stations start functioning, we can have a full-fledged coastal security," Naidu said.
Six marine police stations, each headed by an inspector, have been functioning at Kalingapatnam in Srikakulam district, Rushikonda in Visakhapatnam, Vakalapudi in East Godavari, Gilakaladindi in Krishna district, Suryalanka in Guntur and Dugurajapatnam in Nellore district.
"Though there is a shortage of marine staff, we are ready to tackle any situation on our coastline. Marine police is keeping a constant and strict vigil on the 974-km long coastline spread across nine districts of the state," the officer said.
To further strengthen the security, there is a proposal to appoint special police officers (SPOs) in coastal villages. "There were 508 hamlets, known as 'Fishermen's Villages' along the state coastline and the proposal to appoint SPOs in each village has been pending with the finance department for approval," he said.
"Appointment of SPOs might begin in a month or two. They would act as our eyes and ears and would inform us if they find any suspicious movements along the coast," he said, adding that they would first be provided training.
Marine police conduct patrolling in deep sea within their jurisdiction in coordination with the coast guard, but SPOs will play a major role and keep a constant watch on the coastline activities in their villages, he added.
"We are in constant touch with the Navy and coast guard and other agencies to keep a strict vigil on the coastline," the officer said, adding that monthly review meetings were regularly held to update information and to take various measures.
Marine police is headed by an inspector general of police (IGP) at Visakhapatnam as its headquarters. The IGP would be act as a nodal authority between different security agencies.
Recently, the Indian coast guard has opened a new station in Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, the third in the state. The establishment of this station is part of the ongoing efforts by the coast guard to strengthen security in the coastal states of the nation.