Weight matters and for 40,000-odd policemen in the city, it does even more. But there are only a few who care to maintain their fitness levels even if it makes them eligible for a monthly allowance.
In 2006, the state government had kicked off an ambitious plan to monitor fitness levels of policemen — between the ranks of constable and sub-inspector and above 30 years. Those found fit (with the right level of Body Mass Index) are then eligible for a fitness allowance: Rs250 a month for a year.
But, sadly, this programme has failed to motivate policemen. Though the number of policemen, who appear for annual fitness checks has risen over the years, those actually eligible for this benefit has been dismal. Of the total strength of policemen in the city, a mere 13,462 turned up to get themselves examined in 2010-11, of which 12,903 were declared fit and eligible to claim benefits of the incentive.
In 2008-09, 17,418 policemen came for fitness check while only 13, 879 were declared fit. In the following year, 2009-10, it declined considerably; 14,912 policemen were examined by certified hospitals in the city, of which only 13,421 received Rs250 for a year.
This drive has failed to generate interest among policemen and motivate them to keep their weight under check and maintain an optimum BMI (Body Mass Index) level. And the reason for their indifference could be the monetary incentive, which is a measly sum.
“The whole concept of launching this fitness incentive programme was to maintain the health of our officers. If they are fit and slim, they will automatically perform better,” said Vijaysingh Jadhav, deputy commissioner of police (HQ-I).
In the past few years, the police have initiated a lot of measures to control obesity such as starting gymnasiums across the city.
Currently, there are 30 such gymnasiums in the city which cater to police officers and their families.
Apart from this, police canteens now serve special food, which would help policemen cut flab and make them fit as a fiddle.
But what about senior policemen who are above the rank of a sub-inspector? Well, it is their duty to be fit. “While this incentive is meant only for juniors, senior policemen still have to continue to maintain their weight. It is their duty,” said Jadhav.