Bengal’s coastal surveillance plan in deep waters

The comprehensive coastal surveillance plan mooted by the West Bengal government and cleared by the Centre after the Mumbai terror attack has made little progress.

Written by Madhuparna Das | Kolkata | Published: April 30, 2010 2:26:16 am

The comprehensive coastal surveillance plan mooted by the West Bengal government and cleared by the Centre after the Mumbai terror attack has made little progress.

The plan that envisaged setting up of police stations along the Bay of Bengal in the Sundarbans,bordering Bangladesh,lies in shambles even as alerts of possible terrorist attacks keep pouring from intelligence agencies everyday.

Of the proposed 14 police stations,the state government has been able to issue notification for setting up only six in the past 18 months. Of these,only three coastal stations have started operating in South 24-Parganas and one has begun its operation from two manned-launches in East Midnapore on an ad-hoc basis. Two other police stations in North 24-Parganas and East Midnapore are still under construction.

“While submitting the proposal,we had identified the land,determined the mouza and the block in which the police station will be located. We had also completed the bifurcation of the existing police station,” a senior police officer of South 24-Parganas said.

“For the last 18 months,five of the eight proposed police stations are awaiting government notification,which is a simple procedural necessity. If the notification is issued,the construction work can begin,” the officer added.

According to the officer,the state home department issued the notification for three of the eight police stations after several months of nagging.

Eight of the proposed police stations in South 24-Parganas include Patharpratima,Sitarampur,Sagar,Frezarganj,Moipith,Chotomollakhali,Diamond Harbour and Namkhana. At present,Moipith,Frezargunj and Choto Mollakhali police stations have started functioning. “We had submitted proposal for setting up eight police stations and 31 outposts in Sundarbans,” said L N Meena,SP of South 24 Parganas.

“We have identified land for the police stations. Now,we are waiting for the issuance of the notification,” Meena added.

In North-24 Parganas,police had recommended setting up one coastal police station in Hemnagar under Hingalganj police station area. “The notification for the coastal police station was issued a few days ago. We have started the construction work and the police station is expected to start operation from the last week of May,” said Rahul Srivastav,SP North 24-Parganas.

In East Midnapore,the police authorities had recommended setting up five coastal police stations. Notification has been issued for two while three others are still awaiting it. “Notification has been issued for Talpotti and Digha Mohana police station. We have identified land for both the police stations but the land identified for the Talpotti police station has been encroached. So it is operating from two manned-launches,” said Ashok Biswas,SP of East Midnapore .

Meanwhile,DGP Bhupinder Singh said the proposal will take time for implementation. “The work for setting up the coastal police stations has started a few months ago. It is a long process and will take,” Singh added.

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