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Fund crunch hits coastal security

Published: 12th August 2013 11:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2013 11:46 AM   |  A+A-

Even though the Centre proposed establishment of marine police stations nearly three years back to boost coastal security, the scheme has not been implemented properly in the State due to scarcity of funds.

Official sources said the State Government has again approached the Home Ministry to enhance provisions for setting up marine police stations with a fund of ` 25 lakh for each unit.

Five marine police stations were set up in the first phase while there is a proposal to open another 13 along the coast to boost coastal security under the Coastal Security Scheme of the Home Ministry.

However, the State Government has been finding its implementation hard with the existing financial provisions.

For each PS, the Centre had sanctioned `33.35 lakh in the first phase and Rs  48 lakh in the second phase. However, during construction, the Government found that the expenditure could touch the Rs 70-lakh mark for each unit.

Since marine police stations are located in low-lying areas near the coast, which are prone to inundation during cyclone and storm surges, the buildings have to be placed on stilts to thwart any submergence.

Constructing buildings in an area of 2,500 sq ft to 3,000 sq ft on stilt will cost about ` 70 lakh besides the expenditure for site development.

In view of these problems, the State has sought that unit cost for construction of marine police stations be enhanced by Rs 25 lakh.

While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had  written several letters to the Centre in this connection, the Home department has  sought increased financial sanction for construction of jetties so that more marine boats can be berthed.

The State has not only sought help from a Central organisation in design and construction of the jetties since it does not have the required expertise, but also called for more sanction.

The Government has also sought a change in the design of the boats allocated to these marine police stations for patrolling since the vessels are finding movement difficult in the dark in the creeks. The engine design in faulty and repair costs are high.

The State has demanded funds for fuel expenses for the boats as they are oil guzzlers.

Last year, the fuel expenses were placed under Security Related Expenditure head but this year, no fund has been placed. Without fuel assistance, the Department said, it would not be possible to operate the boats.

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