Sixteen years ago, the Mumbai police planned to set up a coastal police station after they learned that explosives used in the serial blasts of 1993 came into the city by sea.
It took 10 armed terrorists and a bloody, over 60-hour attack on the city on November 26 last year for that plan to finally materialise.
The city coastal police, who have been working out of a ramshackle temporary shed outside the Yellow Gate police station at Colaba, will finally have a proper police station of their own — senior coastal police officials are most likely to choose Gorai creek as the location.
The state had offered two other options — Geeta Nagar in south Mumbai, and Santacruz. “Gorai is the best option,” said Senior Inspector Anant Rane of the Mumbai coastal police station. “Strategically, it is a fairly central spot on the city’s coastline. It’s easier to monitor the entire city from there.”
Currently, the coastal police operate through outposts at Sewri, Sassoon Docks, Cuffe Parade, Girgaum Chowpatty, Mahim and Santacruz.
However, post terror attacks — in which 157 died — the need for a fully functional coastal police station has become critical.
The outposts will stay functional even after the new station begins operations.
The coastal police will be the third line of defence guarding the state’s coastal boundary, monitoring the sea up to 12 nautical miles from the coast. The Coast Guards take up from there while the Navy watches India’s international waters.
The Centre has been mulling coastal policing in nine coastal states and four Union Territories. Of the total of 73 police stations, 12 were to come up in Maharashtra.
Mumbai was to have one police station and six outposts.
The current makeshift structure at Yellow Gate was allotted to them three years ago by the former Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the November 26 attacks.
However, like the city’s Crime Branch, the coastal police will not have the power to lodge a First Information Report (FIR).
If they learn of an offence, they can conduct an investigation but they have to refer the case to a local police station to register the FIR.