New Delhi: At a time when the nation urgently needs further strengthening of its coastal borders especially in wake of the terrorist attack on Mumbai, the Indian Coast Guard is functioning without any head for the past ten days.

It is strange to note that Vice-Admiral Anil Chopra vacated the post of Director General, Coast Guard, in the end of October, but the Defence Ministry is yet to find an eligible candidate for the post.

Moreover, the current scenario raises several questions over the Defence Ministry and its readiness to face the challenges to avert the incidents like 26/11.

According to sources, the main problem lies with seniority of Navy officers. After the retirement of Vice Admiral Anoop Singh from the post of Flag Officer In-charge of Eastern Navy command, no change has been made in the seniority of Navy officers.

In addition, hectic lobbying has been reported among the top Navy officers for the coveted post. Sources said Vice Admiral MP Murlidharan posted at Navy headquarters and Pradeep Chauhan, Chief Officer, Western Command have emerged as the top contenders for the post of DG Coast Guard.

However, it is unlikely to serve the purpose of Coast Guard for appointing DG among its own cadre. Top officials said three star officials will be made DG Coast Guard.

Presently, Deputy DG (Operations) Inspector General VSR Murti is looking after the functioning of Coast Guard.

It is worth mentioning that in its report on the functioning of Coast Guard, the Comptroller and Auditor General has lashed out at the lackadaisical attitude of the Defence Ministry as well as the Centre.  

JPN/Bureau