Police control room (PCR) vans are proving to be a huge liability in the twin cities of Noida and Greater Noida both in terms of crime control and expenses.
A 10-month rent bill (including fuel costs and salary of drivers) sent to Greater Noida Authority for 20 Bolero cars it hired in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games last year stood at Rs1.5 crore.
The authority could have purchased 20 new Bolero vehicles for a much less cost and owned the resources too. Noida Authority, which also hired as many Bolero cars around the same time, has been slapped an equally shocking bill. "Fuel theft has been one major reason. The whole idea, for those who provided the cars, is to make profit," said an official. Now, rates are being negotiated. The authority may not renew the contract, which ends on Friday.
Family members of a sitting MLA in the region had provided these vehicles, as part of an agreement, to the district police. Apart from these 40, Noida and Greater Noida police have another 22 and 18 gypsies, respectively. They belong to the police department.
But it's not only the money. Since, drivers aren't cops (they have been hired, too), there is no accountability. They are manned mostly by constables and the quota comes from police stations, suffering for long due to lack of adequate manpower.
About two dozen PCR vans are redundant and rusting without any manpower. Noida police are now roping in private security guards (12 for each of the six police stations in the city) to man these cars. "Again, they are not trained enough and the issue of accountability will continue to be there," an officer said.
"Moreover, these vans cannot control crime, as they don't have wireless sets or riot-control equipment. There is also interference of those, mostly politicians, who donated the vehicles," the officer added.
Previous SSP Amitabh Yash, in the middle of his tenure, had said, "The presence of these vans has actually affected the overall policing."