Amidst heat, smoke and dust

Amidst heat, smoke and dust

Amidst heat, smoke and dust

While it’s easy for people to point fingers at them, the everyday realities that our traffic constables and police officials undergo are harsher than what most people have to face — the constant honking, vehicular emissions, dealing with angry motorists and other professional hazards often end up taking a toll on their health.

Krishna Singh worked in the police force for 35 years before he passed away due to a lung infection this January. After saving a woman facing delivery complications by getting others in the force to donate blood, he was fondly given the title of ‘Blood Singh’ as he created a medical network at the City Market Police Station and helped 5000 people receive blood during his lifetime.

His son Naveen informs that the doctors blamed the onset of problems of lung congestion and throat owing to air pollution. “The traffic police work eight to 12 hours a day in the worst conditions — they deal with harmful vehicular emissions constantly and often face breathing and lung issues. Plus they stand for prolonged periods of time, which makes their bones weak. As a means of protecting himself, my father always wore the mask provided. But whether it was on or off didn’t make a difference because of its poor quality,” says Naveen.
R Revansiddappa, constable at Cubbon Park Police

Station, adds that there is “no sleep, no rest and no food in the job”. “The timings are so erratic and we work overtime so often that sleep-related problems are common in this profession. Another common occurrence is death due to heart attack because of the stress levels and pressure we are under. We can’t prevent pollution but the respiratory system is badly affected because of our daily intake of smoke and pollutants. We wear masks, helmets and even raincoats in monsoons. But neither are all stations provided with these nor do they prove too helpful,” he opines.

Women officers also face their share of problems. A source from the Halasuru Gate Women’s Police Station says that the lack of a balanced diet and exhausting shifts reflect on their health. “We are understaffed and overworked, which doesn’t help when we are also playing the roles of wives and mothers. I often suffer from pain in the knees and body aches but there is nothing I can do about it unless I quit,” says the source.

   Raghavendra H Auradkar, commissioner of police, explains that physical and mental stress is the main problem owing to the nature of the job. “The vehicular pollution we deal with is always going to be a problem but masks are provided and the traffic police are educated about using them. And there is a lot of stress and physical discomfort because of long working hours and very few holidays in a month. But on our part, we have health check-ups for the entire force regularly and even tie-ups with several hospitals like Narayana Nethralaya. There is also the Arogya Bhagya Yojane, a self-financing scheme where all police personnel and their families get cashless admission in certain hospitals. We are doing the best that we can for them,” he shares.

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