Even as commissioner of police Sanjeev Dayal has said he may have to recommend the closure of five police stations in the city because they are in poor condition, residents of Khar have taken it upon themselves to save their police station.
Members of the Khar Residents’ Association have appointed an architect to prepare a plan for rebuilding the police station and have also offered to get people to sponsor the construction.
Khar is among the five police stations that are in bad condition and an irked Dayal has said he may have to recommend its closure to the state government if it is not rebuilt or relocated.
“We have been meeting regularly to decide how to handle this matter and have also sent letters to the home minister and the municipal commissioner for land and relevant permissions to construct a better and bigger police station,” said Anandini Thakoor, managing trustee of the association.
The police station is located in a structure that used to be a pre-primary school. It does not have space for complaint desks, a ladies’ changing room, and an interrogation room and also leaks heavily during the monsoon. An officer from Khar police station, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said: “We are facing a severe space crunch, especially since three police outposts in the area were demolished by the BMC. The staff from these outposts also operates from the police station.”
In its letters to the government, the association has offered to help build a new police station on one of the two plots it has suggested as possible locations. “The state government can allot the adjacent Mhada plot earmarked for a garden to construct a police station by changing the reservation of the plot. Otherwise, there is a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation [BMC] health post on SV Road that is not used too much these days. A police station can be built there too,” Thakoor said.
The association has also requested the BMC to give the land under health post for the new police station.
Deputy municipal commissioner Sudhir Naik said: “Residents of Khar have verbally informed us about this issue, but we haven’t received any request or proposal from police department and therefore I have no comments to make.”
The residents said that the crime rate in the area has been increasing and a police station is necessary. “We need the police station here, considering the large number of senior citizens and crimes against them. In fact, we want a modernised police station to improve its efficiency,” said Sanjeevani Kashikar, a member of the association.