Call it an irony. Those who keep us safe are themselves struggling for a roof for their families in this metropolis.
The policemen are opting for staying out of police quarters and heading to rented accommodations.
There are more than 1,500 police quarters that are lying vacant and policemen do not want to live there.
The policemen are staying away from the quarters even as the department says that there is a huge shortfall of houses that is required to accommodate city policemen.
The department has only about 18,500 houses for its over 38,000-strong constabulary.
According to a reply to a Right to Information Act query, the Mumbai police say that the quarters, each measuring up to not more than 180 square feet in area, are lying vacant.
The reply, sought by a social worker, states that the quarters are vacant as most of them are in a dilapidated condition. It also states that the houses are small in size and lack amenities. “Some of them are not connected well to railway stations, bus stops and markets,” the reply states.
The RTI reply, on the other hand, mentions that there is a shortfall of over 13,000 houses and currently only about 4,200 quarters are being constructed.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (HQ 1) Vijay Singh Jadhav confirmed that policemen are shying away from these quarters. “These quarters are small and nowadays policemen do not want to move into such small houses,” Jadhav said while adding that the specifications of the existing quarters are very old and at the time the area of the quarters were fixed at 180 square feet.
He said that the new quarters being constructed by the department offers bigger space.
A constable, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the living conditions at most of the quarters are horrible.
“I am lucky to have got a house at Bandra (West) police line otherwise I would have never lived in those quarters,” he said while adding that his friends and colleagues who live in Mahim and Naigaon police lines keep complaining about the squalid conditions of the houses.
He said that the Bandra Police Line is one of the best quarters to live in.
“The other police lines like the one at Mahim or Naigaon are not habitable,” he added. The constable said that staying with a family in such a small house is very difficult.