Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has often hailed the state police for enabling Madhya Pradesh to “top” in the country’s law-and-order enforcement. Today, the government has been apprised of a paradox behind the claim.
When it comes to daily food, the administration spends on a policeman or woman 10 rupees less than it does on a prisoner, the civil force revealed to the CM, suggesting ways to boost the spirit of the staff in khaki.
Police staff from the constable level to that of inspector, who work 15 to 18 hours a day while on special duty, are entitled to food that will not be worth above Rs 60 per head, while an inmate in the state’s jail gets daily food of the value of Rs 70 per head, according to a top police official.
“We have requested the CM to hike this amount to Rs 100 per head,” Pawan Jain, additional director-general of police (Planning), told Hindustan Times, adding the response was positive. “It has remained at Rs 60 for over a decade now.”
Madhya Pradesh, with eight of its 51 districts affected by Maoist insurgency, has 1.25 lakh police personnel. There are three grades between the constable and the inspector: head constable, assistant sub-inspector and sub-inspector.
On Wednesday, the CM held a meeting with senior police officials, including the SPs of all the districts. It was at the closed-door conference Chouhan was apprised about the state allotting the police money less than for jail inmates on daily food.
“It is sad the police staff, after working hard during any duty (including VVIP deployment) exceeding 12 hours, get food of so less value,” Jain said.
A senior policeman said jail inmates now get “better food” because they are being regularly monitored by the National Human Rights Commission. “There is no such agency to monitor the problems of the police force,” he added.
ADGP Jain said the CM has agreed “in principle” to allocate Rs 100 a head per day on food of policemen on special duty. The amount was what a constable got in Ujjain this April-May at the month-long Simhastha — a Hindu religious mela held once in 12 years.
In addition to the below-par food and other service facilities (see box), the police says that state government’s “weak stance” on last month’s Balaghat incident has “further demoralised” the force.
Sources said the police believed that pressure from the RSS led the BJP government to suspend seven policemen and three home guards after registering cases of attempt to murder against all of them following reports of them beating up a young Sangh functionary while questioning him. RSS pracharak Suresh Yadav, 26, was brought to the police station at Balaghat in southeast Madhya Pradesh on September 25 on charges of posting hate message.
The incident also led to a shake-up in the police department, as two senior IPS officers — one of them an inspector-general — were transferred for “wrongly handling” the case.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the department proposed fuel allowance of Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 to the policemen. “Most of the time, constables using motorbikes for duty do not get any money for fuel,” Jain said. “Most of them pay for fuel from their own pocket.”
The police department further demanded linking revised pension of the martyrs with awards of the pay commissions. It also sought ex gratia for martyrs to be enhanced to Rs 25 lakh from Rs 10 lakh.
“We have also mooted an education corpus for the children of martyrs,” Jain said. The department has requested the upgraded gratuity of the brave-hearts. Another suggestion is to double the monthly Rs 1,000 a police station gets to entertain visitors.
The department also requested the MP Police Housing Corporation to construct 25,000 houses for policemen by 2021 by building 5,000 each year. The state has 108 police housing colonies, which the department wants to have a renewed infrastructure with improved facilities as proposed for the state’s five upcoming smart cities and 34 others under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.
Former Madhya Pradesh DGP SC Tripathi said allowance enhancement will empower the police force. “Let us hope that the authorities will give a quick green signal to the proposal,” he said, recalling that the state finance department has “several times in the past” posed hurdles to proposed rise in allowances.