In the line of duty, city cops living in crumbling stables

Existential crisis

The week-long torrent of rains, that played havoc with the town’s infrastructure, hit the policemen’s residential quarters spread over Jalpuri, Gayathripuram, Jyothinagar, Jockey and several others areas, leading to water-logging.

Leaving their khakis at home, and ably backed by their spouses, the cops sweated it out, cleaning the mess and detritus left behind the receding waters. Such is the diligence to this duty that “work orders” have been issued to take on the job on a war footing.

 The work order, signed in by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic) P Rajendra Prasad, who is also in charge of maintaining the police quarters, involves fixing the damage caused to the ceilings of the single-storied blocks which came up over 80 years ago.

Since then, little, if any, repair work was undertaken in the police quarters which, in some cases, were stables that were built about 80-100 years ago. After Independence, the stables were converted into barracks and then turned over to the police department to house its unformed personnel.

After years of living in homes in utter state of disrepair, for once, the police force is being meticulous. According to the job order, Category B type repair work would involve replacing the window panes and glass, and minor improvements have been categorised as type C. Once the rain waters receded, complaints gushed in, forcing the authorities to sanction Rs 85 lakh for all the repair work in all of the police quarters.

Chaos

“After hours of gruelling duty on the streets and on the beat, anybody would like to return home to sleep peacefully. But here, the rains brought chaos which was compounded by the woeful condition around,” a police officer complained, pointing to the dilapidated structure with collapsing roofs, broken cornices and parapet, leaking pipes, stagnant pools of water and the fetid smell emanating from them.

The terrible conditions in which the town’s policemen live is a grim testimony to the apathy of the superior officers who, for years, have turned a blind eye and a deaf ears to almost daily complaints from subordinates.

It was chaos scene at Jalpuri, a block of 250 houses, each with a 20 feet by 20 feet dimension, where about 200 families live a cramped existence, when there was incessant rain for a week. The womenfolk would bark orders to the menfolk, asking them to clean up the squiggly, slushy mess. Some cursed their fates, others went about the task with brooms in hand.

Most of the occupants at the Jalpuri quarters are constables, head constables, assistant sub-inspectors and sub-inspectors (promotees). The rent is fixed based on the officer’s basic pay. Constables end up paying a monthly rent of Rs 1,100, head constables shell out Rs 1,400, an assistant sub-inspector pays Rs 2,000 and sub-inspectors Rs 2,500.

Such paltry rents for faulty homes has not worked with some of the policemen who vacated their quarters for safer and saner environs elsewhere in the city. In the Jyothinagar and Jockey quarters, new residential blocks have come up, but the occupants’ woes have multiplied.

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