If you are in Bangalore or any other part of Karnataka, it might be a good idea not to flaunt your car this election season. For, the cops might snatch it for patrolling duty.
Faced with a severe shortage of vehicles for security patrolling and transporting of election officials, the police are going to source vehicles from citizens. They are going big on what they officially call “commandeering of vehicles in the national interest”.
Director General of Police R Sreekumar said on Thursday, “We have no choice but to rely on private parties — owning taxis and private cars — to meet the demand. The number of officials involved with election security has increased manifold. Hence the need for extra vehicles.”
The administrative head of a district can issue orders for temporary procurement of vehicles from citizens through commandeering. The Karnataka police plans to enforce this legal provision in letter and spirit this time.
“We will not request for the cars we need; we will simply take them because it is the citizens’ duty to cooperate. Moreover, we will pay the rates decided by the transport department, which are quite liberal.”
Transport Commissioner M. Laxminarayan told the Hindustan Times the rates had been revised this year. “They are 10-15 per cent lower than the market rates. For transporting electoral officials, only around 10 per cent of our total vehicular needs are met through private sourcing. But for police patrolling, the requirement is much more.”
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Shankar Bidari said, “Last time we had 30 paramilitary companies. This year there will be 225. Quite a few companies of 100 men each will have to be
divided into four groups of mobile patrolling parties. That will increase the need for vehicles.
Moreover, the 25,000 state police personnel will largely be on mobile election duty. We ask citizens to bear with us for two days.”