Lack of security infrastructure makes sea-lane, borders vulnerable: CAG
The Comptroller and Auditor General has found that Indian sea-lane and borders have become vulnerable due to lack of security apparatus and infrastructure. This was revealed in the latest report presented in both the Houses of Parliament recently on compliance on Customs department.
The Centre has directed to ensure that Customs marine vessels are optimally used by conducting Sea patrolling for 4 to 6 hours per vessel every day. The audit reviewed the patrolling records of 102 vessels under Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Trichy, Calicut, Kolkata, Shillong, Kandla, Jamnagar, Vizag, Bhubaneswar and Patna Commissionerates for the period 2013-14 to 2015-16 and noticed that out of 102 vessels only 58 patrolling vessels were operational. On examination of these vessels, the audit observed that patrolling carried out was only 6 to 7 percent of the norms prescribed.
The audit observed that out of 102 vessels, 44 vessels were non-operational. As per Customs Preventive Manual, Commissioner of Customs is responsible for sea surveillances. Section 104 of the Customs act 1962 empowers customs officer to arrest any person in India or within Indian customs water while other section empowers officer to stop and search any vessels.
In view of this, the audit verified the deployment of vessels in preventive commissionerate, Mumbai and found that only six vessels were deployed there. Outside Mumbai, at Dahanu, Vasai, Mora, Revdanda and Srivardhan port lower category vessels were deployed.
Department of Logistics authority in Mumbai had noted that these lower category boats were not suitable for rough weather which means not fit for utilisation beyond sea state. The CAG observed that since these boats were not suitable for patrolling in rough weather and no better quality vessels were deployed, the entire jurisdictional territorial waters were not being covered for effective patrolling.