India is S set to get its first national marine police academy in Gujarat. The state government is in talks with the Centre, besides the navy and the coast guard, for this.
The academy will provide a coastal safety force from the current pool of police officers and will also educate fisher folk in identifying threats in their localities and working in tandem with the security forces.
MPs from the state and the government had requested permission from the Union home ministry to set up a marine police academy, considering Gujarat has a 1,600 km coastline — the longest in India.
The home ministry has shown keen interest in the proposal and is currently considering it.
The state government has already set up two marine commando units, besides 10 marine police stations at Jamnagar, Porbandar, Surat and other coastal districts.
A home ministry official said: “ We have approved a grant for 12 (in addition of the existing 10) police stations at various coastal locations. Also, 31 mechanised 12- tonne boats have been sanctioned for the state.” On the police academy, the official said: “ Gujarat desperately needs a marine police academy to develop a force which is capable of guarding the coastal areas of the state and the nation.
At present, no such manpower is available anywhere in India except with the navy.” The source added: “The academy will not only train police officers but also the technical staff, who will be taught all about boat operations and maintenance, using and maintaining surveillance equipment, etc.
The academy will also train the local fishing community, which can help keep an eye out for suspicious activities in the sea or on the coastline.” The need for such an institution was highlighted after the 26/ 11 attack in 2008. The 10 terrorists had come via the Gujarat coast in a boat from Pakistan.
They had reached Mumbai after looting the fishing boat, MV Kuber, near Porbandar. Besides, the Gujarat coast was also used for smuggling weapons used in the 1993 Mumbai blasts.