.........BERHAMPUR: Glaring inadequacies in terms of manpower and infrastructure have hit the marine police stations along the coastline in Ganjam district. Even as the State police began to tighten its noose around marine infiltrators after reports of intrusion cropped up in Gujarat in 2015, the coastal security in the State is now being compromised, sources claimed.
Sources said shortage of staff, lack of interceptor boats and proper training for the personnel are a matter of concern.
Set up in 2009, the marine police station at Arjipalli was provided with two interceptor boats for regular patrolling in the sea. While one of the boats worth `2.35 crore had a capacity of 12-tonne and was fitted with an eco-sounder, radar, night vision lens and Global Positioning System, the other one having five-tonne capacity, was bought for `1.25 crore.
However, both the boats are now lying defunct after getting damaged during cyclone Phailin. The authorities had taken no step either to repair or to replace the damaged boats so far, sources added.
The marine police personnel are left with no vehicles to patrol the sea. They are often spotted walking along the shore, holding a baton, sources said. Such is the situation that the marine police had to use boats rented from the Forest department for conducting a mock drill last week.
Moreover, sources claimed that the drills are not held regularly. According to the norms, the mock drills must be conducted at an interval of three months. However, nowadays these are being held as per the convenience of the marine police, sources said.
The marine police station was established to curb illegal activities in the coastal belt, including smuggling of arms, contraband, unauthorised fishing and infiltration through the sea route. However, sources say not a single case had been lodged at the marine police stations so far.
On the contrary, several clashes took place between the local fishermen and their counterparts hailing from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Local fishermen revealed that the sea is often used for ferrying country liquor to Andhra Pradesh.
The police station at Arjipalli is manned by 17 personnel, including an Inspector, an Assistant Sub-Inspector, five Havildars, seven Constables, a driver and two boat crew members against a sanctioned strength of 81 staffers.
In 2014, the second marine police station was opened at a rented house in Sunapur. However, sources claimed it was not not provided with any patrolling boat. A handful of cops, including home guards, manage the regular affairs at this station. The police station is housed in the second floor of a double-storeyed building. The first floor had been occupied by local traders.
Sources claimed even though the higher authorities had assured of doing the needful, nothing fruitful had been done so far to tighten the security measures in this region.