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Beyond the call of duty! How long?

Basistha PS: A case study

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Nov 14: They are on the go for twelve/fourteen hours at a stretch! They feel droopy yet they have to report for duty, as often as not. If it is not going above and beyond the call of duty, what else is? That they have to buy their own chairs to sit on and almirahs to keep documents safe would suffice the kind of infrastructure they are provided with. Yet we expect better policing from them.
This is the common scene in most of the police stations in Assam. The ambience at Basistha Police station in Guwahati is no different. This police station, in fact, makes a perfect case study to depict the state of affairs of its kind in the State.
Basistha Police station covers a population of around 3.5 lakh. The expanse of its jurisdiction extends up to Meghalaya border in the south, Sonapur in the west, Beltola Tiniali in the north, Saukuchi in the north-west and Lakhra in the west. The staff strength of the police station is just 52, including constables. With its skeleton staff, it is next to impossible for the police station to cover the entire population under its jurisdiction. It has three patrolling vehicles christened Papa 1, Papa 2 and Mobile. Standing rules spell it out that each of the three vehicles should have an officer, two constables and a home guard while in patrolling. However, paucity of manpower makes the police station do with only two personnel, with or without an officer.
The police station even does not have any bathroom, nor does it have any water filter. Lady police personnel have to go elsewhere to answer nature’s call. Certainly the authority concerned is well aware of this, and if not, they ought to.
This is not all. The police station gets ten litres of petrol a day. Sometimes, their vehicles guzzle petrol when they have to make frequent trips for patrolling or otherwise. In the event of shortage of fuel, they have to dip into their pockets. This is not the only such incidents when the personnel manning the police station have to dole out money from their pockets. In the event of people getting injured due to accidents or clashes people rush to the nearest police station and demand lodging of FIR. As soon as an FIR is lodged, it is imperative on the part of the personnel to take the injured to the hospital for medication. When such people are to be taken to the GMCH or MMCH, they need more fuel. If the injured are admitted to any nearby private hospital, the medical fee is very high. In both the cases, the personnel have to meet the expenditure from their pockets.
Leave and offs of police personnel have been cancelled in the run-up to the publication of the draft NRC by December 31 this year. To cap it all, there is only one model barrack that too, a ramshackle structure, for constables. Most of the constables prefer rented rooms to the barrack.
Will the scenario ever change for the better? The personnel have no way out but to hope against hopes.