Boats in Mumbai vulnerable as not equppied with GPS

Boats in Mumbai vulnerable as not equppied with GPS

Commissioner of Mumbai Police D Sivanandhan said fishermen could not be forced to install Global Positioning System, which could help in locating them during any crisis situation, unless state procures it and provides to them. "The fisherman community is huge and there are 43,000 boats. We can't force them to install a GPS unless we buy at our cost and give it to them. I don't think that has happened," the top cop told reporters. During the 26/11 strikes, the Lashker-e-Taiba terrorists hijacked a fishing trawler, M V Kuber, to reach Mumbai and carry out the attacks that claimed 183 lives.

The Coast Guard had recommended to coastal states last year to give fishermen a low-cost system, costing less than Rs 10,000, developed by ISRO to send alerts during emergency. The system, when activated in distress situations, gives GPS coordinates of the boat to Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Chennai which alerts the nearest ship or boat of Coast Guard. The battery-operated transmitter having unique identification number can send out continuous alerts for 24 hours once in every five minutes.

Sivanandhan, however, said other measures to improve coastal security have been taken by the Mumbai police which include coastal police stations. "Coastal Police stations are already functioning. Navy and Coastal Guard will be looking after the Blue waters. Obviously Mumbai has changed after the 26/11. Your guess is as good as mine," Sivanandhan, who took over as the chief of Mumbai Police in June this year, said. He said steps have been taken to improve the security of the Megapolis by introducing a three-tier system in case of any such event in future.

"We have a three tier system to react to any possible terror strikes - police, Force One (special commando force of Mumbai Police on the lines of NSG) and the third is NSG and all three of us will be under the command of Mumbai Commissioner of Police," he said. When asked about the confusion in the police during the 26/11 attack, Sivanandan said confusion regarding the leadership will not be there because CP is in-charge of the operations whatever is happening in the city. "I can't comment on confusion during 26/11... always CP will be in-charge," he said.

Sivanandhan said regular standard operating procedures and repeated rehearsals are being conducted. "We have selected 1000 odd men and keeping them on five different places and giving them adequate training. We have introduced 39 combat vehicles and placed them at different places," he said. Sivanandhan said collection of intelligence through beat marshals and community policing has been strengthened. "Besides this, we are equipping the police with all wherewithal including the equipment like what money can buy the best. We are also in touch with people like commercially important one’s, industrialists and general public at large through variety of programmes," he said.