The Coast Guard, on Thursday, commissioned a coastal station at Dahanu near Mumbai, the third in Maharashtra since November 2008, when terrorists used the sea-route to enter Mumbai and launch an attack. The other two Coast Guard stations have come up at Ratnagiri and Murud-Janjira.
Vice-admiral MP Muralidharan, director general of Indian Coast Guards, said the station at Dahanu would be a fillip to the Coast Guard’s effort to undertake search and rescue operations, and to attend to medical emergencies in the region. The station would have two interceptors boats, with a hovercraft to be stationed at a later stage, Coast Guard officials said.
The Dahanu station is one of the 42 Coast Guard stations that are expected to come up across the country’s coastline. “We had 22 Coast Guard stations in 2008. Since then, 10 more stations have been added, and we plan to add 10 more by the end of next year,” Muralidharan said. He added that the force planned to increase the number of surface combatants from the current 70 to 90 by the end of the year, and aimed to have 120 surface combatants by the end of 2013.
Similarly, it also plans to strengthen its aviation wing, adding two aircraft by the year-end to its current fleet of 50. The Coast Guard aims to up this number to 60 by 2013. Sources said that trials to procure 16 light twin-engine helicopters for US$300 million would begin in April.