JOAO SOUSA M | NT
There is a silver lining for coastal police stations, which have been hamstrung by shortage of personnel, equipment and patrol vessels. The state government has signed a pact with Goa Shipyard to give a new lease of life to the grounded patrol vessels inducted into the coastal police.
News reports have indicated that patrol vessels attached to various coastal police stations have been grounded as they are unfit for operations.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, superintendent of police, coastal security, Dhinraj Govekar said the state government has entrusted the work to repair the grounded patrol vessels to Goa Shipyard.
The work will start in a couple of days.
Asked if there is any proposal for fresh procurements to strengthen Goa’s coastal police stations, Govekar said that procurement is a continuous process. He refused to divulge anything more on this aspect.
However, highly-placed police sources said that several procurements had been proposed, but nothing has materialised: the coastal police stations are
still operating old equipment and vessels, some of which are nearly 10 years old.
The purchase of a hovercraft for quick response had been proposed, but it has not yet been bought, the sources said.
It is pertinent to note here that the Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju in 2017 had announced that the Union government under the coastal security scheme had sanctioned a financial assistance of Rs 384.80 lakh for improvement of infrastructure in Goa.
The Centre had proposed construction of seven coastal police stations and two jetties, and procurement of ten four-wheelers, 17 two-wheelers, ten rigid inflatable boats and surveillance equipment, including equipment for enhancing night operation capabilities of boats, computer systems and furniture.
However, some of these proposals are yet to see the light of the day, the sources observed.
The Centre has been making grandiose announcements on strengthening the coastal security in the country. However, it appears that little has changed on the ground as far as Goa is concerned.
The lone coastal police station in Salcete at Betul continues to operate with just a 12-tonne interceptor boat, that too only during the day as it lacks night-vision equipment. And the lone patrol vessel has been out of action for a long time.
Moreover, it has been alleged that the erratic transfer of the personnel trained in coastal security to civil duties has plagued the coastal police stations, which are often manned by untrained police staff.
Govekar, however, made light of the news reports on the understaffed coastal police stations.