Mumbai: The 72 high-end speed boats acquired by Maharashtra Police two years after the Mumbai terror attacks are not operated to full capacity along the state's coastline for want of fuel and unattended technical snags.
The state police department had sought government's permission last year for additional fuel for the boats, but it is yet to be approved, a senior police official said today. Some of the interceptor craft have been grounded as they developed technical snags and have not yet been attended, he said.
"For repairs, we need funds. The sanctioning of funds is a very lengthy procedure. Do not know when the boats will be repaired," the officer said. The sophisticated speed boats, procured for over Rs 30 crore, were inducted into the force in 2010 to secure Maharashtra's 720-km-long coast line. Last year, Maharashtra Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal had written to the state government seeking permission for additional fuel for these boats.
According to sources, the police department is presently diverting the petrol or diesel meant for its vehicles to the boats. The Home department allows 4,500 litres of fuel for every police vehicle per year. "However, it is not possible all the time to divert petrol or diesel for the boats and hence, sea water patrolling is adversely affected. The Navy and Coast Guard may be doing their best in securing the deep waters, but the state police patrolling along the coastline is not as per expected standards," the officer said on condition of anonymity.
There is no regular patrolling by the state police in the waters. "Only when a specific threat is received, boats venture into the sea for patrolling, which is very unfortunate," he said. When contacted, DGP Dayal said he is hopeful that the government would do the needful at the earliest, as far as sufficient supply of fuel for the boats is concerned.
However, Dayal said, "Our department is doing its best to secure the coastline." On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists arrived by sea route and opened fire indiscriminately at people killing 166, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others, besides damaging property worth crores.
Following the bloody terror strikes, the state government procured firearms and boats for the police department to effectively tackle terrorism.