With an eye on the metropolis’ entry and exit points, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) now has plans to expand its network in the state.
The ATS wants a unit that will have its sights trained towards the north of Mumbai, and another unit in Navi Mumbai to cover the coastal districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.
The need for the additional units was realised after the ATS, which has five units in Nagpada, Kalachowkie, Vikhroli, Juhu and Thane under its Mumbai jurisdiction, struggled to monitor the vast expanse of Maharashtra’s coastline, stretching from Sindhudurg in the south to Dahanu in the north.
In fact, the Thane unit of the ATS is currently policing the entire area, including the commissionerates of Thane and Navi Mumbai. The need for additional units was realised when a close analysis of the unit’s workload was carried out, said police sources.
The ATS wants the additional units at strategic places in the north and south of Mumbai, to monitor national highway 8 that connects Gujarat and runs up to Delhi, and the Mumbai-Goa-Karwar highway. This is notwithstanding the coastline, and the importance of coastal security after the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks.
Rakesh Maria, additional director general of Maharashtra ATS, said: “We want a unit in Navi Mumbai to monitor the regions of Ratnagiri, Raigad and Sindhudurg, and a unit towards the north of Mumbai.”
The ATS wants to augment its rather beleaguered force in order to effectively track and neutralise activities of terror groups across the state. “A proposal will be made for the units. We also plan to make internal arrangements for these units, in addition to recruiting from the Maharashtra police,” added Maria.