JAGATSINGHPUR: Even as vigil along Odisha coast has been intensified by the Indian Coast Guard, Navy and police following intelligence inputs of possible entry of anti-nationals following the scrapping of Article 370, coastal security in the district are in shambles.
Coastal security system has been affected by shortage of manpower, interceptor boats, infrastructure, arms and ammunition, electronic gadgets and adequate training to marine police personnel. The district has three marine police stations and none are well-equipped to effectively ensure security of the coastline.
The Union Government had launched the Coastal Security Scheme in 2005 after which the three police stations were established for policing the coastline. While the Centre is supposed to provide 100 per cent assistance for infrastructure creation like purchase of interceptor boats, vehicles, arms and ammunition electronic devices, etc, the State is required to provide personnel for these facilities. But, shortage of trained marine personnel has proved a hindrance in functioning of the police stations.
Jagatsinghpur SP in-charge Biswanath Mishra said despite staff crunch and shortage of boats in the marine police stations, security has been tightened along the coast to thwart possible influx of illegal immigrants through sea. “The marine police are on high alert and patrolling has been beefed up in coordination with the Coast Guard and CISF to keep a vigil on suspicious movement of vessels,” he said.
A three-tier patrolling system has been put in place to secure the coast of Odisha. While the Indian Navy patrols the high seas and carries out aerial reconnaissance with vessel-based aircraft, the intermediate layer comprising the Exclusive Economic Zone (between 12 and 200 nautical miles) is taken care of the Coast Guard. The territorial waters are patrolled by joint patrolling teams comprising personnel drawn from the Customs and State Marine police.
Despite the arrangement, infiltration in Paradip area continues unabated. On November 10 last year, a boat carrying crew from West Bengal had entered the highly sensitive Single Mooring System of Indian Oil Corporation Limited despite alert by the Coast Guard, Navy, CISF and Marine police. Besides, frequent influx of Bangladeshi infiltrators into the coastal villages of the district has exposed the lapses in coastal security.
In 2016, a Bangladeshi national Khokan Seikh was found staying in Paradip for two years. While the local police failed to nab him, the STF arrested Seikh, who had changed his identity and was hiding in Paradip without passport and visa.
In 2013, as many as 15 Bangladeshi fishermen, arrested by Paradip police were sentenced to imprisonment by SDJM, Jagatsinghpur for two years for illegally fishing in Indian water. In 2011, two Bangladeshi crew members who were engaged in smuggling in the waterways by producing passports of both Bangladesh and India were arrested by police.