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Mumbai cops stop patrolling Elephanta Island due to lack of speed boats

The Mora coastal police in Mumbai do not have speed boats (or any boats) to go the island.  

mumbai Updated: Jul 22, 2017 12:04 IST
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,elephanta island,Mumbai police

The police have stopped visiting and patrolling on the Elephanta Island, the popular tourist spot for past few days, as the passenger boat services from Mora in Navi Mumbai have been terminated due to heavy rains. The Mora coastal police do not have speed boats (or any boats) to go the island.

The island, which has a population of around 2,000, comes in the jurisdiction of the Navi Mumbai police. Every day, police officials from the Mora coastal police station leave for the island in the morning in the passenger boats that ferry the local villagers and come back in the evening.

However, that boat service has been terminated temporarily due to heavy rains and high tides over the past few days. As the police have no other options, they have stopped visiting the island for now.

“Because of incessant rains and high tides, it has become very difficult to negotiate with the sea. The passenger boats that ferry people to the island could easily overturn during such situations. Due to lack of transportation system, our officials are not visiting the island for the past several days,” said an official from Mora police station.

Mukunda Bhosale, senior police inspector of Mora police station said that police officials will be sent to the island, as soon as the passenger boat services are started. However, he refused to comment on how they would tackle the situation if a major crime or terror attack takes place on the island when there is no boat to visit the island.

Hemant Nagrale, the police commissioner of Navi Mumbai was unavailable for comments.

According to the Maharashtra tourism department, 3,000-4,000 tourists including foreign nationals visit theElephtanta Islandevery day when boats are available from the Gateway of India in Mumbai. The number of tourists increases during weekends and festivals like Christmas and New Year.

How safe is the Elephanta Island?

TheElephantaIsland, previously known as Gharapuri, houses three villages- Rajbunder, Shetbunder and Morabunder, with a population of around 2,000. According to the Gharapuri Gram Panchayat officials, around 8 lakh tourists visited theislandin 2016 and around 30% of them were foreign tourists.

“There is enough to do when it comes to safety and security of the people at theisland. Tourists who come from Gateway of India are checked by the Mumbai police before they board the ferries. But there is no such system to check the people who come from other places of Navi Mumbai. We have asked the local police to take some requisite measures manyatime, but to no avail,” said Sunil Padte, sarpanch of Gharapuri gram panchayat.

First Published: Jul 22, 2017 12:04 IST