September 26, 2016 10:24:50 pm
Eleven years after the Centre started marine police station system to plug critical gaps in policing the long Indian coastline and territorial coastal waters, Odisha has spent just about 31 per cent of the central funds for building its critical infrastructure with hudge shortage in manpower, lack of interceptor boats, and could achieve just about 3 per cent of its sea-patrolling target.
Watch What Else Is Making News
A compliance audit done by CAG on the state of coastal security scheme and tabled in the Assembly on Monday said that the objective of securing the coastline of the State through establishment of Marine Police Stations and sea patrolling was not achieved despite receipt of financial assistance from Centre.
Though Odisha has a 476.70 kilometre long coastline which is vulnerable to export/import of illegal arms, contraband articles via sea route, unauthorised fishing, and entry of anti-national elements from the neighbouring countries, required infrastructure like buildings for police stations, barracks and jetties are yet to be constructed. Besides, equipment and vehicles were either not purchased or utilised for other purposes. Required manpower in the marine police stations was not deployed. The utilisation of available manpower and equipment was not adequate as sea patrolling was conducted only for 2,805 hours as against requirement of 81,000 hours between 2012-15.
Since February 2009, the State has built 18 marine police stations of which the CAG audited 9.
The marine police are responsible for patrolling in sea up to 5 nautical miles from the coast and each boat should patrol a minimum of 150 hours in a month and 1,800 hours per annum. But of the nine sample marine PS, only 5 had interceptor boats. Aryapalli marine PS did no patrolling in 2014-15 due to breakdown of boats while in Balaramgadi marine PS, just about 7 per cent of the patrolling could be done using fisheries jetty situated at a distance of about 70 kilometres.
The audit found that despite provision in the standard operating procedure for night patrolling, neither had the department nor the director general of police prescribed any criteria for night patrolling. As a result, night patrolling was not done at all in Aryapalli marine police station of Ganjam while while in remaining four marine PS, this was done for only 115 hours, four per cent of the total patrolling hours. Though the standard operating procedure envisaged checking of fishing boats during patrolling and boarding operations to prevent infiltration of hostile forces, smuggling of arm and ammunitions, contraband, none of the 9 test checked marine PS checked the fishing boats/ boarding operations.
Though the State Government committed to MHA that it would formulate a standardised training syllabus for the marine police personnel and that the training would be provided by the Indian Coast Guard, the CAG audit found that 15 out of 98 marine police personnel posted in the marine police stations were trained in marine policing at Indian Coast Guard centre, Paradeep. Besides, none of the technical staff (ex-Navy boat crew) were imparted training in marine patrolling.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.