The Union home ministry’s decision to set up the prestigious marine police training institute in Gujarat despite 305 acres being allotted for it in Palghar has been slammed by the Democratic Front government in the state, which has accused the ministry of making a mockery of Mumbai’s security and pandering to PM Narendra Modi.
To prevent more 26/11-like attacks from the sea, the decision to set up two training institutes on the west and east coasts was taken by the then UPA government in June 2012. A formal request to allot land for this was made to Maharashtra some time last year.
Accordingly, Maharashtra had allotted 250 acres belonging to the Konkan Development Corporation in Palghar district in February this year and an additional 55 acres in May. Gujarat had also allotted land, but in March.
The Union government’s move to take away the institute from Maharashtra drew sharp criticism from state home minister R R Patil yesterday, who said it was designed to please PM Modi, who hails from Gujarat. “The state had earmarked 305 acres of land near Palghar and this had been conveyed to the MHA.
But the Centre’s decision to set up the institute in Gujarat seems to be a political one as the new location is inconvenient for states like Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra,” said Patil.
Patil added that the prerequisites for the marine policing training centre were that the land should be in a coastal area with proximity to the deep sea and a naval base. “Despite Palghar being close to Mumbai and meeting all the criteria, the centre will now be set up in a remote place in Gujarat,” he said.
Citing the 26/11 attacks, in which the terrorists had exploited vulnerabilities in Mumbai’s coastal security, Patil said it made sense for the training institute to be located close to the city, and not in Gujarat. “I am going to raise this issue with the Centre. It has made a mockery of Mumbai’s security,” said Patil.