Varkala: With the new season starting, tourism industry here is facing a severe shortage of security police officers. The officials concerned have failed to make necessary arrangements to ensure the safety of hundreds of tourists, including foreigners, who come here.

Only six police officers have been posted to cover the 10 kilometre stretch between Chilakkoor and Kappil. Only three officers patrol the stretch each day and if something goes wrong, they fail to reach the spot on time .

Attacks under the influence of alcohol and narcotic substances and anti-social elements troubling foreigners are common in the area. A Russian tourist had created a ruckus near the beach on Tuesday. He beat up a security staff at a nearby bar and blocked traffic. He also attacked the tourist police officials who came to the spot. More policemen were called in and the tourist was taken to the station an hour later. The feeble strength makes the police unable to control the miscreants.

Last season, 10 officials including four from the Kerala Armed Police were posted here. This time around, most of them, including the SI have been placed on station duty. Even the tourism police officers are placed on station duty at times. Besides the tourists, hundreds of devotees come to the beach to offer prayers. During weekends and holidays, the beach experiences a huge rush of local residents. The situation is so bad that the police can’t even control traffic at the main beach and helipad.

During holidays, cars and bikes engage in street racing posing threat to the public and tourists. The high-mass light at helipad, that was removed to ensure smooth landing of VIP helicopters, has not been reinstalled. The cover of darkness encourages anti-social elements, who make use of the vehicles parked near the helipad, to consume alcohol resulting in brawls.

The police aid-post near helipad is in a dilapidated condition. The roof has partially collapsed and there are no lights inside the aid-post. With Christmas just days away, the area becoming a gathering spot for criminals is a cause for concern.