Coast Guard lacks teeth to safeguard India’s coast: CAG


New Delhi : In a shocking revelation, the government auditors Friday brought out the wide gaps in India’s coastal security, saying that the Coast Guard (CG) lacks adequate force levels to keep a vigil on India’s porous 7,500-km-long coastline.

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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 that 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 the figures given by the CAG report.

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 eleventh five-year-plan ends, the situation of both surface and air fleet of the CG will be improved, the CAG said, noting that the shortages compared to the year 2000 force levels will come down to 17 percent and 45 percent, respectively.