Indian Coast Guard faces staff crunch

The strength of CG is 12,585 against sanctioned 15,714.

Visakhapatnam: India’s coastal security force, Indian Coast Guard, is facing manpower crunch. While India has a 7,500-km coastline, Andhra Pradesh has the second longest coastline in the country with 970 km after Gujarat.

Andhra Pradesh also has critical oil fields in KG basin and key installations along the coast and coastal security always had been a challenge. At present, the borne strength of Indian Coast Guard is 12,585, against the sanctioned strength of 15,714.

The remaining 3,129 posts are vacant, which is 20 pc of the sanctioned strength. In order to tide over the existing manpower shortages, the Coast Guard is also re-employing Indian Naval Short Service Commission officers, law officers from army, musician cadre sailors, jawans from Indian Navy and Army. The Coast Guard had also been going to colleges and educational institutions to motivate students to join the coastal security force.

“We went to various varsities and colleges explaining the salient features of a job at the Indian Coast Guard. The coming year too we have plans to go to some more varsities and reputed academic institutions to explain about the Coast Guard and the details of jobs. We always see enthusiasm among youngsters which ever academic institution we go. Job at the Indian Coast Guard is adventurous, challenging and exciting,” Coast Guard Commander (AP), Deputy Inspector General A.K. Harbola, told this correspondent.

The Indian Coast Guard is considered the fourth largest in the world with the present assets of 118 ships and 63 aircrafts. The coastal security force would be inducting around 84 ships and crafts which are under construction at 8 different shipyards in the country to strengthen the coastal security and manpower is critical to manage these assets. It was after infamous 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008, the Centre started giving utmost importance to coastal security.

“In an expanding organization like Indian Coast Guard, recruitment of officers and Enrolled Personnel (EP) is an ongoing process. Post 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack, Indian Coast Guard has witnessed rapid expansion and the induction / recruitment of manpower. The recruitment process has been fast tracked and approximately 130 Officers and 720 EPs are being recruited every year, which is almost 100pc increase as compared to the period pre 26/11,” Union minister of state in the ministry of defence, Dr Subhash Bhamre in the parliament recently.

Coast Guard is also taking motor transport drivers from the India Army on deputation. The coastal security establishment is also revising Manning Plan for optimizing combat readiness of all platforms.

Marine battalions sought
It has been more than a year that the marine police wing of the state had sought the Centre to sanction two exclusive Marine Police Battalions on the lines of Indian Reserve Battalions (IRB) that are raised entirely by direct recruitment and funded by the Centre, but there has been slow progress in this regard. AP has a second longest coastline, measuring 974.6 km from Srikakulam to Nellore with around 400 potential landing points, in the country after Gujarat.

The AP police had also sent a proposal to the Centre for setting up 10 check posts and 5 outposts at strategic places in addition to the existing 21 marine police stations in the state and to modernise the force, a total of 30 fast interceptor boats need to be added.

The government has placed orders for these boats with Garden Reach Shipbuilding and Engineers, Kolkata at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore. Now, AP marine police have 18 such fast interceptor boats.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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