From October, Mumbai’s coastline will be better monitored because the coastal police will have amphibious vessels, to patrol the city’s coastline as well as the sea.
By 2010, Mumbai’s coastal police will be the first in the country to acquire six Sealegs or amphibious boats costing
Rs 21 crore to beef up security along the city’s 124-km-long coastline.
The need for amphibious security vehicles such as these was felt after the November 26, 2008, terror attacks when 10 terrorists entered the city by sea and held it hostage for over 60 hours, killing 173 people.
Once the Sealegs — the first one is currently with the Customs Department for inspection — are in place, policemen will be able to man the beach and the sea without leaving the boat.
According to the coastal police, the six boats that have been imported from Switzerland will be stationed at sheds built on Girgaum Chowpatty, Mahim, Juhu and Gorai beaches.
Sealegs has wheels that retract on the water, making it like any other boat.
When returning to land, the wheels are lowered in the water and the boat is driven towards shore until the wheels touch the bottom and can drive on land.
A team of two or three policemen on board these surveillance boats would be able to intercept unidentified boats and miscreants in the water and chase them on land too.
Arun Inarkar, in charge of the Versova Saagri (Coastal) police station, said they (the coastal police) had submitted a proposal to the state government to acquire these boats.
Based on that a team of officers from the Maharashtra Maritime Board is surveying the coastline to build sheds for the Sealegs.
“The board has completed the sea survey and will now undertake a land survey to park the boats,” said Inarkar.
“This will ease patrolling activities considerably,” said a senior officer requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. “The boats could also be useful in manning beaches during the Ganesh festival and to intercept miscreants on land and sea at the same time.”