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10 January 2011

Showman Narendra Modi successful in building Brand Gujarat, but what about poor cops Dear Chief Minister?

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By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is a great showman. By holding Vibrant Gujarat Summit on January 12-13, 2011, he is all set to establish his brand. But, the chief minister doesn’t seem to care a bit about the morale of beleaguered cops in the state that has taken a beating of late?

Frequent government-sponsored festivals, carnivals, marathons and the other events in Gujarat are taking a toll on the state’s police force, which is compelled to stand guard day and night, not only physically, but also financially. Some 10,000 to 12,000 police personnel have been deputed for these events in the last few months.

Though the state prides itself as being one of India’s richest, its constables, assistant sub-inspectors, sub-inspectors and even inspectors have not been getting their salaries in time for several months now. In some cases, they get paid even weeks later.

But what is worse is that the allowance they get when detailed to VIP security or bandobasts is a princely sum of Rs 90. The amount has not gone up in over 10 years now and policemen say it is barely enough to sustain them.

Now, with the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit approaching, their worries have only increased.

Naresh Brahmbhatt, president of the Gujarat State Police Constables Association, says the 12,000-strong outfit has requested the government several times to at least increase the transport allowance for police personnel deployed for such duties.

“For every big function, additional forces from other districts are brought in, especially if it is the one attended by the CM. A policeman who moves out of his original posting for bandobast is entitled to get a transport allowance, which has remained Rs 90 for the last 10 years. For such events, a policeman works for more than 12 hours. How can they manage transport with just Rs 90 and work for 12 hours without food?” asks Brahmbhatt.

The association says they need at least Rs 150-180 as TA & DA. The question of implementation of the 6th Pay Panel’s recommendations is still hanging fire.

The plight of personnel of the armed police units is even worse.

A Border Wing police official said, “We were deployed in about 10 big functions in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Vadodara last year. We had to come all the way from Kutch and stand on duty for more than 12 to 14 hours a day. We are ready to do it but we are also human beings. We need to be at least paid our salaries in time.”

A traffic police inspector said he got his last salary only at the end of the month, adding that having a CM who enjoys a very high security means traffic police have to always remain on toes, cordoning off areas and diverting traffic. He said the issue of holiday pay (payout for work on their holidays) has not been resolved as yet.

DGP Chitranjan Singh, however, said a policeman on uninterrupted duty exceeding 12 hours does get paid. “If a policeman works for more than 12 hours, he also gets a refreshment allowance. But the decision on TA & DA depends on the state government,” the DGP said. He, however, did not say what is given to a policeman who works for slightly less than 12 hours on a given day.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com]

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