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Rajeev Bhaskar, Hindustan Times
Jalandhar, October 15, 2013
Approved a year ago and granted Rs. 52 crore, Rapid Rural Police Response System (RRPRS) is yet to take off. Aiming at strengthening policing in Punjab through the system, the state police are still to set the ball rolling. To reduce the police-response time to distress calls in rural areas, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the home portfolio, had, on August 1, 2012, announced that the RRPRS would be in place across the state by October 2012.

To ascertain the system's current status, this reporter contacted all senior superintendents of police (SSPs) of the four districts of Doaba region - Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Nawahshahr - and found that nothing was being done to implement the much-hyped project.

Jalandhar SSP (rural) Yurinder Singh Hayer said he had, in September 2013, submitted the district's requirements, including new vehicles and control rooms, to the police headquarters in Chandigarh so that the system could be implemented at the earliest.

“We have chalked out a blueprint for the implementation of the system and now the ball is in the court of the police headquarters,” he said.

The SSPs of Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Nawahshahr also echoed the same view. They said the detailed project report (DPR) of the system had already been submitted to Dinkar Gupta, additional director general of police (law and order), who had been appointed the RRPRS nodal officer.

Admitting that there was some delay in the implementation of the new system, Gupta said: “We are in the process of upgrading the infrastructure, including ultra-modern 27 control rooms connected with the central control room at the police headquarters, in the rural areas.”

He said: “Tenders for all necessary equipment, including ultra-modern communication system and new vehicles equipped with the global positioning system (GPS), will be called within a fortnight.”

“We have hired a UK-based company (Price Water House Coopers) as a consultant for the RRPRS so that the new system is on par with the hi-tech policing system of the US and other European countries,” Gupta said.

“Under the proposed RRPRS system, all calls will be diverted to the Central Police Control in Chandigarh and after being sorted out, they would be forwarded to the police jurisdiction concerned for immediate response,” he said.

“Massive arrangements will be made to manage disasters under the new system so that in case of an emergency, police response time is minimum,” the ADGP said.