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?People not interested in social welfare activities?

At the ripe age of 90, most people would have become dependent on various kinds of support systems, but Pt Ganpati Verma, a former DSP, who turned 90 on Saturday, is still active and vibrant. In fact he is one of the most active members of the Nagar Suraksha Samiti, which is a neighbourhood watch system. Pt Verma, who will be felicitated by the Arya Samaj Malharganj on Sunday, spoke Sonia Khandelwal about public participation in policing and his life. Excerpts.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2006 15:32 IST

At the ripe age of 90, most people would have become dependent on various kinds of support systems, but Pt Ganpati Verma, a former DSP, who turned 90 on Saturday, is still active and vibrant. In fact he is one of the most active members of the Nagar Suraksha Samiti, which is a neighbourhood watch system. Pt Verma, who will be felicitated by the Arya Samaj Malharganj on Sunday, spoke Sonia Khandelwal about public participation in policing and his life. Excerpts.

Briefly tells us about your journey so far?
I started as a member of Arya Samaj and then joined as a trainee police constable in 1940. I have several achievements during my 36 years in police service and can recount them. But I don’t want to rest on my laurels and pray to god that he lets me work till my last breath.

What inspires you to be such active at the age of 90?
It’s God and his blessing. I pray everyday to keep me healthy till I am alive. It’s my principle that motivates me to serve the society. I believe that only body dies and soul is immortal. And I would certainly continue to be part of such activities till I can.

Why are there only few active members in Nagar Suraksha Samitis?
It is true that Nagar Suraksha Samiti comprised of many members but only 25 per cent of them actually work. It is because there is no allurement for people to work. Society has become self centred, nobody bothers about what affects others. So nobody is willing to participate in any social welfare activity. Today people would not go for patrolling at night just because it’s for the security of others. Another reason is people do not get any form of money to work for it atleast what they need to discharge these duties should be given.

How does policing of today differ from that of your period?
There is vast difference between the conditions and working criteria of police in the present age and that at our time. Today corruption has taken front seat along with politics involved in administrative activities. Although there was corruption at that time also it was not so much. The police personnel today face interference from many other elements also.

What are the measures do you suggest to curb the crime rate?
Lack of police staff is the major cause of increasing crime rate. The ratio of police public is one police personnel to every 8,000 people and thus it becomes too difficult to handle crime. Secondly the functioning of the police should be changed so as to make it faster. One of the important factors that responsible for the increase in crime rate is that policemen are not considered easily accessible by the people. This should be changed.

What changes should be done for betterment or to increase rate of active participation of members of Nagar Suraksha Samiti?
Members of Nagar Suraksha Samiti do not have any such powers so that they could curb crime. It is like neighbourhood watch system. People however can be made aware of the Samiti and its advantages.