Mired in red tape, coastal policing remains on paper
For the state government, coastal policing is a priority, but only on paper.
From training to new police stations or chowkies, from procuring boats to recruiting personnel, no consolidated decision has been taken.
The state government recently announced that three spots have been identified to set up training camps for coastal police in the state.
But this has remained only on paper, and coastal policing, which was supposed to be the number one priority for the Mumbai police after the 2008 terror attack, has suffered because of delays in taking decisions on various issues.
Sources in the port zone said that, from procuring boats to finding a place for new police stations or chowkies, delays in taking decisions has caused an escalation in costs of these projects, and hence many of the projects have not been completed, putting the city’s security at risk.
Sources said that after the 26/11 attack, the port zone got many new boats but with an increasing number of these boats frequently breaking down, officials decided to hire new ones.
The government approved a budget of Rs1.30 lakh for rent per month, and the police managed to find a supplier who was ready to rent boats at Rs90,000.
It was then decided that instead of spending on renting boats, it would be better to buy new ones, sources said, adding that new boats will take time to arrive.
To improve coastal security, an additional police station has been sanctioned to the port zone.
However, in three different places in the Western suburbs, the police have failed to acquire land for these.
At one place, it was the police department that refused them land, while at two other places, a government department and a local MLA got the land allotted forother government schemes instead, sources said.
Similar is the case with finding land for new police chowkies for port zone police stations.
Police officials found land for around Rs6 lakh in South Mumbai, but by the time approval from the state government came through, the cost for the area had gone up.
Sources said officials were having a hard time finding place for police chowkies along the coast.
Mumbai commissioner of police Satyapal Singh did not respond to calls and messages.