A draft CAG report on the implementation of the coastal security scheme in Odisha, launched six years ago, has found glaring inadequacies in most of the state’s 18 marine police stations.
Shortage of manpower, lack of interceptor boats, no infrastructure and poor training of marine police personnel could be compromising coastal security in the state, the report has said.
Four of the 13 marine police stations built in Phase II of the centrally-sponsored scheme did not have an interceptor boat due to lack of jetty, the CAG found. Odisha has not spent a single rupee of the Rs 2.5 crore sanctioned for construction of jetties. Two interceptor boats of Aryapalli station of Gopalpur were damaged in cyclone Phailin in October 2013, and their 19 crew are still waiting for the boats to be repaired. The Centre launched the coastal security scheme in January 2005 in nine coastal states including Odisha to plug critical gaps in policing the long coastline. While the Centre gives 100 per cent assistance for infrastructure creation, purchase of interceptor boats, vehicles, arms and ammunition, the states have to bear the cost of manpower.
However, manpower shortage has proved to be major hindrance in functioning of marine police stations in Odisha. Against the norm of 738 personnel for 18 police stations as prescribed by the Bureau for Police Research and Development, there were only 98 —17.28 per cent, the report said. In Balaramgadi marine police station of Balasore, 48 constables were recruited but only 18 were posted and the rest sent to non-coastal police stations. In case of boat crew, there are 76 against the norm of 138.
In nine marine police stations that became functional between May and August 2014, no marine police posts were sanctioned. They are being manned by regular police personnel. Similarly, no post of boat crew was sanctioned for 13 marine police stations established in Phase II, the report said. The staff recruited for marine police stations did not receive standardised training, the report added. Of the 360 personnel trained in marine policing at Indian Coast Guard Centre, Paradip, till March this year, only 15 were marine police staff.
When it comes to cases, nine marine police stations filed 298 cases between January 2012 and December 2014 but only five of them were marine-related. The only marine case registered at Paradip marine police station, on the arrest of foreign fishermen, was actually done by the Coast Guard.