The ambitious plans of the Central and state governments to strengthen the Mumbai Coastal Police in the aftermath of the 26/11 terrorist attacks have not led to much on the ground.
"Over these three years, the Mumbai Coastal Police has recruited 116 khalasis (helpers on boats), 12 sarangs (steering wheel controllers) and 8 engine drivers. We have also hired second class masters and more engine drivers on contract basis," said senior police inspector P Dhoke of Yellow Gate police station.
"However, of the 19 boats available with the police, seven are not functioning because there is nobody to operate them. We have been told that recruitment is in progress, but we haven’t seen much despite the promises made after 26/11," said an official from Mahim Sagree police station, who did not wish to be named.
"Also, the training leaves much to be desired. There is a government rule stating that any individual who has studied till Class Four and has some knowledge of the sea can be a part of the coastal police. So we are recruiting officers with hardly any qualifications. This has affected the quality of our work," said inspector M Tope of Yellow Gate police station.
Nisar Tamboli, deputy commissioner of police said that in the aftermath of 26/11, the Mumbai coastal police have been provided with all the requisite weaponry to guard the coast line.
However, a coastal police official said: "The weaponry which was allotted for the Mumbai coastal police by the Central government has not reached us yet. It is still lying in the docks. No provisions have been made to get it transferred to Mumbai in over a year."
Although the IPS officers claim that the coastal police, which guards the 140 km-long Mumbai coastline now has 19 speed boats in comparison with six that were available before the attacks, sources in the coastal police inform that a large number of these boats are dysfunctional.
"Of the seven boats available with the Yellow Gate police station, three are currently out of use because of problems with their engines," Tope said.