Coast guard lacks teeth to defend India’s coast: CAG (Lead)

August 5th, 2011 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) The government auditors Friday brought out wide gaps in the country’s coastal security, saying the coast guard (CG) lacks adequate force levels to keep a vigil on the porous 7,500-km-long coastline.

The auditor’s shocker comes only days after an abandoned Panama-flagged cargo vessel MT Pavit ran aground on a Mumbai beach. The unmanned ship had remained unnoticed for a month as it drifted through the Arabian Sea into the Indian waters.

The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report submitted to parliament says the CG was deficient in its force levels by 37 percent in December 2010 — full two years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes — compared to what was envisaged as the force level 10 years ago in 2000.

The CG has only 79 surface platforms — such as offshore patrol vessels and interceptor craft — compared to 122 envisaged for the maritime security force by the end of 2000, as per figures given by the CAG report.

“Compared to the force levels of 122 vessels envisaged in the perspective plan for 1985-2000, the CG possesses only 65 percent of the required force levels in terms of ships and vessels as of December 2010,” the report said.

Its air wing’s force level is still worse than its patrol vessel fleet. The shortage is as high as 52 percent than the 15-year fleet plans between 1985 and 2000, the report said.

The CG air wing has, as of December 2010, got only 46 aircraft, helicopters and aerostat radars instead of 95 platforms that were envisaged in the 1985-2000 15-year plan period.

By March 2012, when the 11th five-year-plan ends, the situation of both surface and air fleet of the CG will have improved, the CAG said, noting that the shortages compared to 2000 force levels will come down to 17 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

“The CG has not processed the case for acquisition of deep sea patrol vessels, medium patrol vessels and aerostats, even though they were envisaged in the perspective plan for 1985-2000,” the report added.

The maritime force has plans to have 42 stations before March 2012, but of them it could open only 30 stations till December 2010.

“By the end of the 10th plan (2002-07), even though the CG had activated 23 stations, a large number of these continued to function with infrastructural and fleet deficiencies. These deficiencies are yet to be made good as of December 2010 at most of the stations,” the report said.

“Post 26/11 incident, the government sanctioned 14 new stations in a span of 18 months (between June 2009 and November 2010). However, only five have been activated till December 2010,” it added.

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