Siolim coastal police hamstrung by staff crunch, poorly maintained vessels

MAPUSA: The Siolim coastal police station set up over a decade ago is hamstrung as it is short-staffed, equipped with old vessels and lacks night vision equipment. The said police station has a vast jurisdiction comprising of Mandrem, Ashvem, Morjim, Chapora river, Fond Poi River and their tributaries.
Though the interceptor vessels are important for functioning of a coastal police station, the two interceptor vessels – a 12-tonne and a 5-tonne vessel anchored near the Siolim bridge, are nonfunctional as there are some technical issues.
Sources informed that mostly the boats which are around ten-year-old are nonfunctional as they encounter technical issues. The staff operating the boats does not possess technical know-how and the police station counts on Goa Shipyard to resolve even a minor snag.
Sources informed that the 12-tonne vessel encounters diesel leakage while the 5-tonne vessel has oil-related issue.
The condition of the only speed boat is also in dire straits. Sources informed that it is believed to be more than one decade old and due to lack of maintenance, it is non-functional.
The police station also lacks night vision equipment. The patrolling team is only provided with night vision binoculars which are also nonfunctional. Both interceptor vessels have got safety equipment like life jacket, bullet-proof jacket, fire extinguisher etc. Luckily the wireless system is functional but the issue is that once the boat ventures into deep waters away from land, the staff faces difficulty communicating. Sources informed that since last ten years no new boats have been purchased.
Another major problem is that the coastal police have not got any dedicated jetty as a result both the vessels are anchored near the incomplete river front project near the Siolim bridge and so the staff do not have proper access.
A staff member informed, “We have no means to board the boat hence we have made arrangement of ladder to get down on the speed boat and then board the interceptor boats.”
When contacted, PI Wilson D’Souza informed “We were given equipment when the coastal police was started. Our boats are old. GSL workers come and repair them. The department is planning to procure new equipment.”
He further said, “We have shortage of staff for deputing on a rotation basis and the issue has been brought to the notice of the department.”
When questioned about the difficulties faces in patrolling, he said, “When the boats are non operational it is difficult, but if boats are operational then we have to see the river condition to venture into river.”
It may be recalled that in December 2010, the Siolim police station building was inaugurated at the hands of then Home Minister Ravi Naik by spending around Rs 57 lakh. Initially, the coastal police station was operational in a small room of Siolim outpost.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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