Hazira, India’s biggest industrial zone, is vulnerable to terror threats

 

Two speed boats assigned to the Marine Police station have been idle for the past year.

Surat (Gujarat) [India], November 13: Surat, Gujarat’s economic capital that houses the giant industries in the Hazira belt, is vulnerable to terror threats from the sea route.

The reason for this is that the two highly sophisticated boats provided to the Marine police station in Surat for regular patrolling in the deep sea to ensure coastal security have been lying unused and gathering dust for the past year.

Given the heightened tension between India and Pakistan and the 26/11 attack when the terrorists used the sea route to enter Mumbai, the non-functional speed boat at the Marine police station has raised many questions on the security of the porous territorial waters in the deep sea near Surat.

Surat’s Marine police have jurisdiction over territorial waters stretching from Aliyah Bet near Bharuch to Dholai Port in Valsad district, also covering Surat and Navsari districts. The surveillance zone covers the areas such as Damka, Bhatlai, Rajgiri, Suvali, Junagam, and Hazira and it extends up to Dumas, Bhimpore, Dipli, Budiya, Tangalpur, Uber, and Ghabheni.

Hazira belt, some 20 kilometers away from the city, is the industrial hub of the country with investment from giant industrial houses in the country running into billions of dollars. The majority of India’s well-known corporate companies including Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Essar, Arccelor Mittal, NTPC, Kribhco, ONGC, Larsen & Toubro etc. are operational in the Hazira belt.

The speed patrol boats allotted to the Marine police station in Surat are lying unused. The situation is such that the boats have been parked on the high-ground outside the Marine police station and that they are gathering dust. The boats are equipped with highly sophisticated instruments for patrolling in the deep sea.

Sources said the speed boats are lying unused for the last year due to the non-availability of expert drivers. The police staff is ill-trained to operate the highly sophisticated speed boats.

An officer asking anonymity said, “Without a captain, we can’t operate the speed boats. The staff required for sea patrolling is allotted. We are dependent on the local fishermen community for giving us information about the suspicious activities in the deep sea. Otherwise, our policemen are constantly keeping the vigil in the areas on the shore”